Don't overlook container gardening with bulbs. You'll get a head start on spring bloom time!
There are three ways to plant bulbs -
Bulbs are often sold loose so you can see what you are getting. Look for firm, well formed bulbs that feel a little heavy for their size. Don't purchase bulbs that are soft, yellowing or bruised. The bigger the bulb, the more nutrients it holds and therefore, the bigger the bloom should be.
When container gardening with bulbs, start the bulbs indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last expected frost in you area. Generally, late January to mid February is a good for starting bulbs.
Use a container with adequate drainage and fill it part way with potting mix. Position the bulbs in the pot with pointed sides down. Plant to the depth that is indicated for the particular plant. Plant bulbs in clusters and close together when you're planting a container garden so you will have maximum bloom impact. Cover the bulbs with soil.
Water thoroughly with warm water. Warm water will promote germiiation and keep the soil warm. Set the pot in a warm location and move to a sunny window as soon as new growth breaks the soil.
Keep soil moist, but not soggy.
When the weather warms a little, move the containers outdoors in the afternoons and bring them back indoors overnight. This will promote sturdy plants. Once all threat of frost or freeze has passed, you can move the pots outdoors to stay.
In the North, successful container gardening with bulbs will require full sun. In the South, for longer lasting blooms, locate bulbs in partial sun.
Flowering bulbs don't need fertilizer when planting - lots of stored nutrients are retained in the bulb.
For a long season of bloom, plant early, mid-season and late varieties in the same pot. Or mix different types of bulbs in the same container. Plant in layers, with the biggest bulbs deeper.
If you live in a climate with mild winter, plant cool season pansies or violas on top of the bulbs and put your pots outside immediately.
When you plant different bulbs in the same pot, plant taller ones in the middle and the shorter ones near the edge.
Make sure to plant bulbs right side up - usually pointed side up, root side down
By planting bulbs in container gardens at different depths, you can stagger the bloom period. The deeper you plant, the later the bloom.
In mild winter climates, try refrigerating some of your bulbs for 6-8 weeks before planting. This encourages them to bloom earlier.
Purchase a mature plant and slip it out of its nursery pot and into a larger container.
Look for healthy roots and fully formed buds.
These hyacinths have an absolutely intoxicating smell in the spring.
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