How to plant bulbs in a pot?

With bulbs, it’s always a surprise! We plant them, we forget them a little, then one day, they burst into sumptuous blooms. At the foot of a shrub in a large container, in a composition in a hanging basket or in pots and planters on a terrace or a balcony, they ensure the spectacle almost in all seasons.

Cultivation of spring bulbs in pots
Cultivation of spring bulbs in pots

Choose the right period

The bulb is a resting storage organ. which contains everything you need to start again at the most favorable moment for the development of the plant. There lies all the subtlety of planting bulbs, because you have to choose the right period:

  • the bulbs blooming in spring like the tulips, les muscaris, narcissus Where the hyacinths will be planted in the fallOctober being the most favorable period;

  • those that thrive in summer and somewhat chilly like crocosmia, dahlias, you alocasias them Where tuberous begonias will be planted in spring when all risk of frost has passed. Note that it is possible to ‘force’ them indoors to start their vegetation earlier, you will then save time on development;

  • autumn bulbs like le cyclamen de Naples Where the sternbergiawill be planted in summer towards the end of August.

Quality First

Choose quality bulbsif possible sold by specialists.

The bulbs must be healthy, very hard and show no suspicious stains, injuries or signs of rot.

The higher the size of the bulb, the better your chances of obtaining large and numerous flowers.

The secrets to successfully planting bulbs in pots

  • the substrate has to be well drained because the bulbs fear stagnant humidity which can cause them to rot quickly, for the same reason, the container chosen must necessarily have holes in its bottom to allow the evacuation of excess water.

  • A drainage layer consisting of clay balls, pozzolan, gravel, pebbles or pottery shards should be laid out at the bottom of the pot. In theory, this draining layer should correspond to 15 to 20% of the volume of the pot.

  • the substrate must be of good quality even if the bulb contains all the potential to ensure the restart of the plant. A potting soil quality containing marblesfertilizer slow release will do just fine if paired with an equal ¼ part of sand to once again ensure a good drainage.

Direction and depth of planting

At the risk of offending the sensitivity of seasoned gardeners, it is necessary to consider the direction of planting the bulb, which may not be obvious to the novice gardener.

Easy to spot, the tips of certain bulbs (tulips, narcisses, amaryllis, jacinthes…) provides an indication of the planting direction: the point from which the vegetation will start will be placed upwardsso far nothing insurmountable…

The case is rife with the scratched corms of buttercups for example or the opulent dahlia tubers. In both cases, the flatter part will be pointing upwards.

In front of the dehydrated-looking balls of the Caen anemone, the question arises again, just as in front of the flattened bulbs of the tuberous begoniasfrom cyclamens de Naples Where of gloxinia. In these cases, the most hollow part will be facing upwards.

Finally for rhizomatous bulbs like l’iris, le rotchildiana, ginger Where turmericyou will take care to identify the swellings which are none other than the buds which will soon bloom to plant the bulb flat and in the right direction.

The depth Planting is of course important, because if planted too deep, the plants will have to use a lot of energy to pierce the soil, and may never even emerge! Planted too much on the surface, they risk being uprooted at the first gust of wind and being more sensitive to drought and frost.

In fgeneral, the bulbs are planted at a depth equal to twice their height. This rule of course has its exceptions like l’amaryllis (Hippeastrum) whose very large bulb will be planted with the tip protruding from the surface of the soil or garden iris (Iris germanica) which will deign to flower only if the upper part of its rhizome receives sun.

How to plant bulbs in a pot?

  • Choose a container with a hole in the bottom that is deep and large enough to hold the desired number of bulbs.

  • Spread a layer of draining material at the bottom of the pot, then cover it with good potting soil.

  • Tamp down and place the bulbs in the right direction on the soil. Cover with soil up to the top surface of the pot.

  • Water.

  • Never let water stagnate in the cup.

This method is much better than filling the pot completely and using a pointed dibbler, as the pointed tip could form an air bubble just below the bulb.

Tiered or ‘lasagna’ planting

If the height of the pot allows it, you can plant your bulbs on several levels, the larger ones will then be planted deeper and the smaller ones closer to the surface.

In this case, be sure to install them, offset, so that the root system of the bulbs above does not interfere with the breakthrough of the bulbs located in depth.


Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by www.aujardin.info.

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