tin pot of daffodilsIt’s the time to begin planting many bulbs for flowering next spring. Narcissus, Crocus, Tulips and many more are now available in the shops and online. This week’s topical question comes from Justine Potts who lives in Bath:

“I live in the middle of town and have no garden to speak of. Can I grow bulbs in grow – bags?”

Bulbs are ‘ready – packaged’ plants that are very adaptable and so they can be used in many different ways. Growing  them in grow – bags is perfectly feasible. And just as you can have a double/treble layer of bulbs in a pot to give a longer floral effect, so you can do the same in grow-bags and other containers (though you migth be limited by the depth of the container). Among the Narcissi the old double yellow ‘Van Sion’ is early, cheerful and showy; ‘Armada’ is large, gold and scarlet; ‘Royal Orange’ is large, white and orange. among the tulips the Darwin hybrids in reds, yellows, oranges and white are very impressive.

Layering different types of bulb in a pot for long spring flowering

Layering different types of bulb in a pot for long spring flowering

As with grow bags if you grow bulbs in pots and similar containers it is important to have good drainage. So long as surplus water can soak away, bulbs should grow well in them. If you have raised containers on pedestals the plants might be blown about, so you should choose those that can put up with the wind, However even lilies are a possibility here; sturdy-stemmed types that can be tried include ‘Enchantment’ (orange flowers), L. regale (white), L. ‘Destiny’ (yellow). Daffodils in early spring and tulips a little later will give colour for weeks; in particular a double layer of daffodil bulbs planted in the autumn will give you plenty of colour. There are many suitable varieties:

  • ‘Tete a Tete’

  • ‘February Gold’

  • ‘Foresight’

  • ‘Armada’

  • ‘Rembrandt’

  • ‘Thalia’

Tulips could include:

  • ‘Red Riding Hood’

  • ‘Giuseppe Verdi’

  • ‘Toronto’

  • ‘Red Emperor’, and

  • early flowering doubles ”Electra’ and ‘Peachblossom’

Before you plant up bulbs in bowls think about what you will do with them afterwards. If you want to put them out in the garden it’s best to grow them in John Innes potting compost as this provides some nutrients that will feed the bulb and so increase their strength. If, however you discard the bulbs at the end of the flowering season you can grow them in bulb fibre which doesn’t contain these nutrients and will be cheaper. If you have your own supply of well – rotted leaf mould that would be just as good as bulb fibre – and even cheaper!

Hyacinths in pots

Hyacinths in pots

Further information:

Container gardening on Pinterest

Container growing with bulbs

Old School Gardener

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