Growing bulbs in pots
Autumn means bulb planting! This season, why not plant your bulbs in a pot? That way, once blooming, the pot can be brought inside for short stints, providing an indoor flower display unlike any other!
How to pot up bulbs step-by-step
Choose your pot
- Keep in mind your goal is to bring your pot of bulbs indoors for brief periods, once bloomed, so choose your pot wisely. Make sure it allows for good drainage, but is also small and lightweight enough so that once filled with soil, it can still be easily picked up and moved.
To chill or not to chill
- Bulbs like to be planted in cool soil, so if the weather isn’t cool enough yet, store your bulbs in your fridge’s crisper section. Refer to the bulb packet to see how long your bulbs can be chilled for. Regardless of the weather, tulips, hyacinth and daffodils need refrigeration, but for no longer than six weeks. Bulbs should not share your fridge’s crisper section with fruit or vegetables, as the gases they release can kill the bulbs, and should always be clearly labelled so they are not mistaken for food.
- Most bulbs are happiest in full sun or part shade. Always refer to the bulb packet to find out the best location for your pot of bulbs.
- A good quality potting mix is essential for growing successful bulbs, as it will ensure your bulbs have free-draining soil, which is a must. Bulbs don't like wet feet - if you allow them to sit in soggy soil, they will rot.
- Planting depth depends on the bulb, so check bulb packet instructions. A handy general rule of thumb is to plant bulbs at a depth equal to twice their width. Bulbs planted too deeply will run out of energy before they reach the surface. Bulbs planted too shallow may be uprooted by birds. Space bulbs at least twice the bulb’s own width apart.
- Most bulbs are planted pointy end up (growing tip). The exceptions are anemones and ranunculus which should be planted point down, as their point is the root.
- After planting, water your bulbs well, then water regularly to keep the soil moist, but not wet.
- Water deeply again when shoots appear.
Mulching & feeding
- Spread a 25mm layer of organic mulch such as sugar cane to keep your bulbs cool.
- Bulbs come prepacked with beauty and life, cleverly storing their own nutrients, but you can help them along. As foliage pops up through the soil, apply liquid fertiliser every two weeks. After flowering, feed bulbs with a controlled-release fertiliser.