Print this page

Pot Up Spring Bulbs

Planting Bulbs in Nursery Pots Storing Potted Bulbs in a Plunge Bed Protecting Potted Bulbs with a Leaf Cage Yellow Tulips in a Container

I hear three reasons people don't plant spring flowering bulbs — limited space, critters eat the bulbs and it's too much work. I have the same response to all three excuses: plant bulbs in containers. A container of bulbs takes up very little room, it is easy to protect from wildlife and you won't even break a sweat doing it.

Try planting bulbs in 6-inch or 1-gallon plastic nursery pots. You can pack several bulbs into a single container and store out of sight for winter. In spring you can slip the pots into bare spots in flower beds or drop them into containers to bring indoors.

Gardeners who live in regions where winters are cold can protect the bulbs by burying the pots in a plunge bed, which is a fancy term for a spot where you can dig holes to "plunge" the pots into the ground.

If you are limited on space, you can store the potted bulbs in an unheated garage or storage room. You'll need to water every few weeks since the pots won't have access to rainfall.

In addition to small pots, pack bulbs "shoulder-to-shoulder" in big containers for an abundant display in spring. Toss aside the spacing recommendations so you can get as many bulbs into the container that will fit.

These are too big for the plunge bed or storing indoors, but you can protect them with a wire cage filled with leaves. Encircle the pot with concrete reinforcing wire and fill with dried leaves. Remove the covering in spring just as the garden begins to unfurl.

Now if wildlife is a problem, you can easily cover your pots with chicken wire to keep them undisturbed.