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Bulbs in Containers?

Seattle, WA

Because of limited sunlight, and poor soil, I will be trying to grow plants from bulbs in containers.

Any ideas welcomed.

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Are you looking for types of containers or types of bulbs? Will the containers get full sun?

Seattle, WA

Bulbs. How deep must Gladioli be planted? Things like that.

Yes, they will get full sun.

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Well, I'm assuming you'll select the shorter glads for pots. I believe the corms are planted 4 to 6" deep. If you plant the taller ones, you'll probably have to stake them just as you would in a garden. At the end of the season, the corms should be lifed just like in a garden.

I plan on doing a lot of containers with bulbs this summer. Not because of sun requirements, but because I want to try some of the more exotic plants and I plan to overwinter the containers. I have a white and purple calla lily, aztec lily, climbing gloriosa lily (also called fire lily), rain lilies, peacock orchid, some dwarf cannas, peruvian daffodil, some of the shorter glads and some dahlias. I'm also going to do some Morning Glories and Black Eyed Susan Vines in pots.

As to culture, it will depend on what your selections are. You can do simple web searches that will tell you how to plant and care for your bulbs and if you have specific questions about a bulb, you can always go to the Bulb forum and ask away.

Brent and Becky's Bulbs is a good website for finding a diverse selection of bulbs. In fact, there are a number of sites that carry bulbs suitable for containers. You could even put pixie or dwarf lilies in containers.

Seattle, WA

This will be my second try at growing these bulbs. The next batch will be in containers, so I can move them into the sun. The first batch did not thrive. :(

I have some Granda Ott Morning Glory seeds - and those will also be planted in containers.

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Lee, what kind of bulbs? Some like to be dryer than others. What are you going to use for a trellis for Grandpa Ott? I saw where someone just teepeed a bunch of sticks together and that looked pretty cool. I was also thinking of using a tomoato cage seeing as I don't plan on planting any tomatoes this year.

Seattle, WA

They are: Gladioli Traderhorn (red) , and Gladioli Blackjack.(burgundy)..

For the Grandpa Ott trellis, will probably use a tomato cage.

Seattle, WA


I've probably just killed some corms. The bulbs were planted two days ago. Should have waited until May.

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Why, what happened? Did you get snow and cold? They should be OK as long as the entire pot doesn't freeze.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

I've tried Elephant Ears, calla lilies, and all kinds of other glads, though, (that were memorable enough, anyway.)

This year I'm trying dwarf lilies in my window boxes. I'm also trying to winter sow different seeds in containers with the lily bulbs.

I've tried tulips, daffs and various spring bulbs with some success, too.

Thumbnail by tabasco
Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

When I lived in a colder zone, I planted daffodils and tulips in a large container and overplanted them with pansies. They did great.
I've grown lilies(asiatics and short oriental varieties), crinums, blood lilies(haemanthus), freesias, callalilies, elephant ears, rain lilies, amaryllis, voo-doo lilies and peacock glads in containers. This year I'm also trying dutch iris.
I put the bulbs in the center of a large pot(usually 15 gallon size) and plant annuals around the edge except with callas and blood lilies. Those I put in smaller pots all by themselves so I can move them if they aren't happy.
There are some new short glads out, those did well for me in the garden. I forget what they are called.

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Tabasco - Lovely, lovely , lovely. I can only hope my container experiments equal yours. Unfortunately, I can't afford such beautiful pots. Can't wait to see your blooming window boxes.

Seattle, WA

No snow yet, but the temperatures have been bone-chillingly cold. As in 18 to 27 at night, and just about 40 in the daytime.

Snow is predicted for sometime this weekend. :(


Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Well, I think if you just bring them in somewhere where it won't freeze, you'll be fine or just dig them up again.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Thanks, beaker. I pick up my pots at Big Lots or the Dollar Store. Always checking the bargain bins and junque piles. I found my window boxes at Lowes for $6 each down from $50.

I am wintersowing a lot of seeds over my window box bulbs (pictured under the plastic with my round hanging basket liners filled with potting soil and morning glory seeds, etc. situated on top). Hope it works.

Good luck. t.

Thumbnail by tabasco
Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Won't the bulbs in the window boxes freeze?

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Well, b., they might, but they didn't last year. It's a chance I'm willing to take this winter because it's been so fair (and I didn't pay much for the bulbs).

I have them in a sheltered place, and I have bags of leaves to give them insulation if it gets really cold.

In past years I put the bulb planted containers under my deck and/or in the garage and pulled them out to the sunshine in early spring.

We are pretty mild here, compared to MN, though.

I'll let you know how it works. Keep your fingers crossed!

Thumbnail by tabasco
Warren, NJ(Zone 6a)

Just browsing here and saw your pics.. beautiful. Something cheery on a day when we're having snow flurries.

I've had luck with tulips and daffs planted in large pots and left in a sheltered spot (open porch) over the winter. I buy bulbs at
Costco and pack them in (at least 25 per pot). Move them to the steps in the spring and they look lovely.
Good luck to you!

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Well, I've had zone 5 envy for years, but it's speading now. Stargazer in a pot wintered above ground. Up here, it's iffy if planted 8" down with 2 feet of mulch!

Mobile, AL(Zone 8b)

I've tried planting callas, paperwhites, and freesias in pots, and continue to have the same problem - the stems fall over and refuse to stand up! What am I doing wrong?

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Well, for the paperwhites and freesias, many people just use wire supports for them. Others make sure they plant the varieties with the strongest stems and the bulbs deep enough in the pot, and of course they need excellent light or they will get too tall and lanky...

For callas, I imagine much the same, although I have never had a problem with them, myself.

Good luck. t.

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7a)

I've had some nice pots with asiatic lilies, hyacinth, daffodils, crocus and smaller dahlias.
I'm in NC but the winters here are irregular, sometimes ice storms sometimes nada.
The lilies have overwintered in their very large pot for 3 years now and since they've multiplied, it is packed full. On the back patio I had some daylilies which did pretty well also. They didn't make it this year but I think it's because they needed to be divided and I didn't have the time to mess with them. Potted bulbs are great because it frees up space in the small flower bed for me to try other things but still cater to my bulb addiction.:)

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