Growing Bulbs in Pots: Traditional Techniques
With Autumn in full swing, now is the perfect time to plant your spring bulbs.
Planting bulbs in pots can provide a great annual display of flowers and you don’t need a lot of space to achieve an impact. Some of our all-time favourites for pots include Daffodils, Anemones, Irises and Tulips. Many bulbs such as Hyacinth and Freesias also make great additions to pots and they have the additional bonus of being scented with strong sweet fragrances, so pots can be placed in areas with high foot traffic so that you can appreciate their scents.
When planting bulbs in pots, you have the option to either plant out a single variety of bulbs or you can try a technique called layering. As the name suggests, you plant out the bulbs in layers of different varieties This technique will give your pot a stunning display of flowers and if you select a range of bulbs that flower at different times, such as late winter, early spring, mid spring and late spring, you will achieve a display that will continue for 3-4 months.
Here's a quick suggestion for layering 4 varieties of bulbs in pots;
IN A LARGE 30CM POT
1st Layer - 5cm of pebbles for drainage
2nd Layer - A 5cm layer of compost or high quality potting mix
3rd Layer - Tulip bulbs
4th Layer - Another 5cm layer of compost/potting mix
5th Layer - Daffodil bulbs
6th Layer - Another 5cm layer of compost/potting mix
7th Layer - A layer of Hyacinth bulbs
8th Layer - Another 5cm layer of compost/potting mix
9th Layer - A layer of Crocus bulbss
10th Layer - Another 5cm layer of compost
Final Layer - of mulch
Bulbs should always be planted the pointy tip up and when planting in pots, you can plant them closer together to ensure a fuller and more dramatic display. Normally if you were planting in the ground you would allow enough space for the bulbs to grow and multiple, but planting bulbs in pots is generally a single season exercise and we recommend that you start with fresh bulbs the following year. That's because the following seasons blooms are all reliant on this seasons growth, as bulbs store their energy resources in the bulb itself.
It is unlikely that bulbs planted in pots will have access to enough nutrients and the right conditions to ensure adequate energy is captured and stored for the following season. Plus as pots tend to dry out quicker, we would have to be super-efficient and capable of ensuring the soil was kept constantly moist and chances are most of us lead busy lives and we won't be that organised or committed to keep up with their requirements. Therefore we recommend enjoying the pleasure bulbs bring this season in pots and plan for another planting of bulbs the following year.
What are your favourite bulbs for planting in pots?