Monday, 21 October 2013

Planting Spring flowering Bulbs in Containers


Love the look of pots of tulips and daffs in spring? Those bright pops of colour after a long winter of bleak and grey?
This is the time to create your magic and then sit back and let it all happen in spring.

You can use any kind of container and any kinds of bulbs... all will look spectacular!

I am not promoting this brand in any way, shape or form.
Just showing a sample of bagged soil-less potting mix that I was able to find this fall, 
 at the box store, at a decent price.  
Remember to only use a soil-less potting mix, the stuff that you can buy at the garden centres or box stores in bags or cubes, not the garden mixes that you buy loose in bulk!
I like to use ones that are high in porosity, containing a lot of perlite for great air flow and drainage, and thus strong roots.
Garden soil and loams will be too heavy, they get compacted by the rains and snow so do not breathe. Your bulbs will either rot or simply not thrive and not bloom. 

Anything goes when planting up your bulbs, any colour combinations you like, or go all mono chromatic for a huge statement!
I like to use taller tulips in the centre of the pot, with shorter tulips or daffodils around them, which are then ringed by even shorter bulbs like scilla (squill), crocuses, or muscari (grape hyacinths).
However, you can also use just one type of bulb, like a whole container of tulips, or alliums, or daffodils, etc... en masse, it makes a lovely punch!

If you are using different types of bulbs, cluster them in groups of 3 or 5 or 7 of each variety, to create a large pop of colour and texture.
On this bottom layer, I planted up clusters of both tulips and daffodils, as they are both to be planted at the same depth of 6 inches deep.
If you are planting more than one variety, they will be layered in the pot, according to depth that they should be planted at. See the pic below ....

On the bulb package, you will find this information ... how tall the flowers get ...  whether it is a sun or shade plant ... and how deep and far apart to plant them.

This tulip will get 20 inches tall, grows in a sunny or part sunny area, and should be planted 6 inches deep and 4 inches apart.

This information helps you plan out where to place your mixed bulbs in the container...
Taller flowers at the back for a porch planter visible from the front only.. or taller in the centre for urns that a visible from all sides.

It also tells you how to layer your bulbs... these ones go in first as 6 inches is the deepest requirement of all the ones I bought, the next layer goes in at a depth of 3 to 4 inches deep.

As for that spacing rule, that they should be spread 4 inches apart... I only follow that rule when I am planting into the garden beds.
In the pots, put them as close together as you want, in order to fit in as many bulbs as you want in that pot... the only rule here is do NOT let the bulbs touch each other or the side of the pot or they will rot.

Also listed on the package is when/what time of year the bulbs will bloom... These ones are mid-spring bloomers.
I plant together all kinds of bulbs that bloom around the same time for the biggest pop of colour.
In the ground, however, I like to plant all different timings, in order to have continuous colour and interest.  
These ones  were colour co-ordinated together and they will bloom in Late-Spring.

Top up the pots with fresh potting mix and plant up with fall and winter interest plants, if you live in a mild winter area. Skip this step if you live in colder areas, and will be storing your pot in a dark garage or cold room.

I like to add pansies as they will add colour all fall and into winter and then will bloom again in late winter.

In these planters I popped in some Bellis ( English Daisies), Heather, and Frizzle Sizzle pansies, which are all fabulous and frilly!
Both the bellis and pansies will bloom again in spring.

Happy fall planting.... prepping for spring! 


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