Planting Flower Bulbs in Containers and Plant Aftercare


planting flower bulbs in tubs

Growing and planting flower bulbs in tubs and other gardening containers has, apart from anything else, one unusual advantage – the plants can be moved at will, if circumstances demand. You can have them near the front door, for example, and move them without trouble to the terrace or sitting-out area if this is desired. Paved sitting-out areas or patios are quite a common feature of many homes, and when the weather is suitable they provide what is virtually an outdoor living room. If the site is sheltered it is quite possible to sit out for several hours on really sunny days even as early in the year as late February and March-and tubs and boxes filled with colourful bulbous plants add to the enjoyment.

Window flower boxes can be made to look very attractive indeed with very little trouble to the householder, and even those living in flats with a balcony can grow flowers in this way. I prefer to see window flower boxes devoted to one kind of flower rather than a mixture but there is no reason at all why, say, daffodils and muscari, or other similar combinations, should not look very well. Daffodils, tulips, crocuses and hyacinths are all popular window box plants.

Tubs give more scope than window boxes because of their greater depth, and tall daffodils and tulips look more in proportion in such containers. I have found tubs excellent for lilies, notably the popular Regal Lily, Lilium regale, and the Madonna Lily, L. candidum.

A method of growing daffodils and planting flower bulbs, which I have found particularly rewarding, is that of planting double layers of the bulbs in deep tubs. I use a good potting compost – usually the John Innes No. 2 – and it is important to make sure that there are sufficient holes in the bases of the tubs to ensure good drainage. Growing daffodils in this way gives a tremendous concentration of colour in a small area-just what is wanted for a prominent position.

The tubs must be at least 12 in. deep as anything less than this would not hold sufficient compost. Place a layer of crocks over the drainage holes and tion of colour. Here the first layer is placed in position cover this with roughage. Add a layer of compost and set the first layer of bulbs in position. Cover the flowering bulbs with compost so that the tips are just showing and then position the second layer of bulbs between the tips of the first layer. Work in compost among these bulbs and make this firm. With correct aftercare the results will be magnificent.

The colour of garden pots and planters can make a considerable difference to the effectiveness of the display. Daffodils look particularly attractive in a green tub with the supporting bands painted black, and multi-coloured tulips in a white tub with black banding can look very striking indeed. Colour harmony is important and should be given as much attention as careful siting.


Planting Flower Bulbs in Containers

One of the most important things when growing bulbs in window boxes or tubs is to ensure that the drainage is good. The container should have holes of about 1 in. diameter at fairly frequent intervals over its base. If you are making up window boxes yourself, use hardwood of not less than 1/2 in. thickness, and paint the inside, which will be in contact with the soil, with a non-toxic preservative. The drainage holes should be covered with crocks and these in turn covered with a layer of roughage before the soil is added. The John Innes No. 1 Potting Compost makes a first-class growing medium and you should plant the bulbs in good time so that they have the longest possible growing period. If ordinary garden soil is used – and this must have good texture – I would mix peat in with it and a dressing of bonemeal (at the rate of 4oz. to the bushel). Do not neglect watering if the compost appears to be rather dry for the wind can soon dry out compost in containers in exposed positions. Also, stake the plants against wind and storm damage as soon as it seems prudent to do so.


Planting Flower Bulbs and Aftercare

A point I would make first of all is that many gardeners are much too apt to take bulbs for granted. It is true that they are for the most part easily pleased and that if you buy good stock, you can expect a first season display of some excellence. This is because flower bulbs, corms and tubers have reserves of food available in these storage organs. But if soil conditions are poor and growing conditions generally unsatisfactory these reserves will certainly not be made good and this will inevitably be reflected in the quality of the blooms in subsequent seasons.

29. September 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Bulbous Plants, Plants & Trees | Tags: | Comments Off on Planting Flower Bulbs in Containers and Plant Aftercare

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