The weather is cooling down, but don’t fret… that doesn’t mean the planting season is over! Planting fall bulbs (bulbs that flower in spring) is an amazing way to give your porch or balcony vibrant colour in those early months of the growing season. The possibilities are endless with colours and combinations, as well as mixing different textures of flowers and foliage in your planters. They are a great choice if you’re planting bulbs loved by deer or small mammals, like Tulips and Crocus, as they are more easily monitored on your porch.
To start off, you will need to get yourself some pots. Terra cotta, ceramic, plastic, any pot of your choice, filling the bottom with a few inches of potting soil. Give yourself enough space left in the pot to top up the soil three times as deep, as the bulb is tall. For example: If the bulb is 2 inches tall, you will want to plant them 6 inches deep. It is a good idea to add bulb transplanter or bone meal on top of the potting soil before you place your bulbs to help develop a better root system and a stronger plant. Adding in approximately 1 TBSP of bone meal per bulb.
You are now ready to start placing your bulbs! When planting in pots, you can plant bulbs closer together than you would plant them in the ground, creating a spectacular display of colours in a small area. In the ground, spacing bulbs 4-6 inches apart is recommended, whereas in pots and planters you can space them as close as an inch apart. If your pot is deep enough, you are able to plant your bulbs in layers. Layering different varieties or colours to create a mixture, as well as a succession of bloom times, extending the bloom time of your planter. Each bulb has a pointy side and a flat side. Plant your bulbs with the pointy side pointing upwards as that is where the foliage will sprout from, and the flat side facing the bottom of the pot, that’s where roots will develop from. If you are unsure which end is the top versus which end is the bottom, you can plant the bulb on its side and they will find their way to the surface of the soil when it is ready to grow and bloom. STEP 3
Bury your bulbs under more potting soil, pack down lightly and give it a light watering. The soil should stay moist, not wet, throughout the winter. Check on your planters every week or two, to ensure the soil is not drying out completely. Store in a cold, unheated shed or garage to give the bulbs their 6-8 week dormant period, but is sheltered enough not to allow the soil in the pot to freeze and thaw throughout the winter, potentially killing the bulbs.
When you start to see green stems poking through the top of the soil, it is ready to be set outside in the sun and you FINALLY get to sit back and enjoy watching your flowers grow and planters fill up with amazing color!
Click the link below to watch our ‘Planting Bulbs in Containers’ on YouTube! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU6-w7tx35U&t=13s Happy Planting! Blaire S.