Bulbs by the Potful

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Bulbs by the Potful

September 10, 2004
12:00am

Spring-blooming bulbs look great just about anyplace you plant them - in borders, along a walk, under trees - but there's nothing like containers of tulips and daffodils to give a concentrated dose of color and joy just where you want it. Now's the time to choose and plant bulbs for bloom next spring. Just as important: Selecting the right container.

  • Choose clay, ceramic or wood containers that are big enough to hold 8 to 12 bulbs (diameter of 10 to 12 inches works well). A traditional choice is a shallow bulb pan, only 5 inches deep. Make sure your container is deep enough to allow 2 inches of soil beneath the bulbs.
  • Many different types of bulbs perform well in containers. Popular choices include tulips, daffodils, hyacinths (for the fragrance!), crocus, and muscari.
  • Fill the container with potting soil (which includes fertilizer) so that bulbs sit on at least 2 inches of soil, with their tops about an inch below the pot's rim. Space bulbs within ½ inch of one another, even touching (you wouldn't plant bulbs in the ground this close together). Cover with soil until bulb tips are almost buried. Water thoroughly.
  • Move the container to a cool, frost-free spot such as a garage or basement. Cover pots with an organic mulch such as ground bark or compost. Check for moisture every week or two; water if soil becomes dry.
  • In late winter or spring, watch for green shoots. In mild climates, move the container to a sunny spot and water as needed. In cold climates, wait until outdoor bulbs show substantial growth before moving your container outside.