Planting Spring Bulbs in Containers

“Spring is Here” by aussiegall

As winter continues with its dark nights and chilly days it is exciting to start thinking about the color and warmth spring will bring. Now is the perfect time to plan out and even plant spring containers. Consider using some of you favorite bulbs in a container to create a cheery springtime display.

Getting Started

To get started first choose the bulbs you want to use then, based on their size, choose a container. NewPro Containers has a great choice of indoor and outdoor containers.  The National Gardening Association suggests you allow for 1 inch between the tip of the bulb and the rim of the container, and a few inches between the bottom of the bulb and the bottom of the pot. For example, if you have a 2 inch bulb your pot should be at least 6 inches deep with 3 inches of soil leaving 2 inches for the bulb and 1 inch between the top of the bulb and the rim.  You can plant several different kinds of bulbs in the same container. Place the larger ones towards the bottom and the smaller bulbs closer to the top taking care not to place the bulbs on top of one another. Make sure the bulbs that you plant together have relatively similar blooming times. You do not want some plants languishing and turning brown while others are just starting to bloom. If you want to have succesive blossoms plant several different containers each with bulbs that bloom at different times. Place the container that is flowering in the most prominent position.

You can use regular potting mix formulated for houseplants in your container. When you pot the bulbs add fertilizer formulated for bulbs at the rate specified by the manufaturer to the soil. Once the bulbs are planted with just the tips showing above the soil water the container thoroughly. Make sure that your pot is able to drain well. The soil should stay moist, but if it stays soggy the bulbs will rot.

Time to Chill

Depending on what type of bulb you use it will need a period of 8-14 weeks of cold in order to flower. These temperatures should average between 35 and 40 degrees. If you live in a place that has warmer temperatures find a cool place to keep your containers such as a garage, basement or refrigerator. If you live somewhere much colder and you place the containers outside they could freeze because they do not have the insulation from the ground.  You can keep the container outside and when freezing temperatures threaten bring the containers to a cool place indoors or keep the containers in a space you know will not become very cold. While your bulbs are chilling be sure to watch the moisture in the soil. If is becomes dry about an inch deep in the container then add water.

Ready For The Move

When the tips of the bulbs begin send up green shoots you can move the container outside. If it is not warm enough you can continue to keep the containers in a cool and dark space and this will inhibit growth. The National Gardening Association suggests that once you move the containers outside, but if temperatures become warmer than 75 degrees keep the container shaded. Temperatures warmer than this will encourage the bulbs to grow too quickly and become leggy and top heavy.

With care and planning you can have beautiful spring bulb containers to greet the warmer weather. Remember to allow for time to chill and monitor the moisture in the containers well so that the bulbs do not rot. What are your favorite spring bulbs? Do you have any container recipes you have found successful?

Melanie is a plant enthusiast and expert contributor at and Melanie's experience in internet marketing, business management, and horticulture allows her to bring a unique perspective to the community. Melanie received a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership from Purdue University and is the Marketing Director at NewPro Containers.

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