My Annual Post on How to Plant Bulbs in Containers
So on Monday my order from John Scheepers arrived. That was the good news.
The bad news is that I was very busy the rest of the day, and my back is still sore. However, all the bulbs are now planted except for about 60 Daffodils that will go into the Parkway Bed.
From Scheepers I ordered 200 Tulips, 250 Crocuses, and 25 Camassia.
To plant the Tulips, I empty out the planting mix into a big bucket, then check to make sure there were enough drainage holes. Wet planting mix will rot your bulbs over winter. I use a hammer and awl to make holes, though with cheap pots that can result in cracks.
Then I partially refill the container, leaving at least 6″ from the top (I like to plant deep and leave at least 8″). That done, I mix in a handful of compost to refresh the mix. Finally, place the bulbs, leaving an inch or so between them.
This year I planted some Containers with both Tulips and Crocuses. After placing the Tulips, I added 2-3 inches of potting mix, then threw a handful of crocus bulbs on top. I kind of rolled the Crocuses around until they looked about right.
Now, overwintering bulbs in containers can be tricky. I have used two approaches which have both worked fairly well. First, I’ve buried containers up to their tops and just left them until spring. Second, I’ve kept them in the garage (when their in the garage you shouldn’t let them get completely dry).
Last year I tried something different. I lined the containers up along the south side of the house and covered them with leaves for insulation. Results were not great for the Tulips, and I lost virtually all the Daffodil bulbs.
Problem is, I now have too many containers (12 with Daffodils, 16 with Tulips) to either bury or keep in the garage. An article in the most recent issue of Fine Gardening by Irvin Etienne, a horticulturalist with the Indianapolis Museum of Art, talks about burying pots above ground with mulch.
So who am I to argue with the Indianapolis Museum of Art? What you see above is 16 Tulip pots partially covered with 20 cubic feet of shredded cedar. It will probably take another 24 cubic feet to finish the job. The Daffodil pots I’ll mulch with compost, which I’ll use to top dress the lawn in the spring.
I suspect that the leaves I used last year tended to keep too much moisture in the potting mix, especially as they included lots of maple leaves.
Happy bulb planting! That’s all for now.