How to Grow Bulbs in Containers

Short on space, but want to grow bulbs? You can! Add pockets of colour and cheer with containers and pots planted with bulbs. Growing bulbs in containers is a fantastic solution for gardeners with limited spaces, or for those who want to decorate their decks, patios, or front entryways with the beautiful colours and lovely fragrances of spring bulbs.

Getting Started

You can grow any bulb that you like in a container or pot, you can even grow different types of bulbs together. You need a container or pot with drainage holes so that excess water can escape, as bulbs prefer well-drained soil, if their feet are too wet for too long, it can cause the bulb to rot.

If your chosen container is going to be left outdoors all winter, select a large container that will hold enough soil to insulate the bulbs during this cold period. If you grow bulbs in a container that’s too small to spend the winter outdoors or one that is made from a material such as terracotta that needs protection, keep the planted bulbs someplace cold, such as a garage or shed. Don’t bring your bulbs indoors as it will be too warm for them to develop properly.

Planting Spring Bulbs

Fill your container with a good potting mix, don’t use garden soil. The planting depth of your bulbs depends on their size;

Near the surface (0-10cm)

  • Anemones
  • Crocus
  • Iris Reticulata
  • Freesias
  • Ranunculus
  • Ixia
  • Scilla

Middle dwelling bulbs (10-20cm)

  • Hyacinth
  • Muscari
  • Dutch IrisGrow bulbs in containers
  • Tulip
  • Daffodil
  • Sparaxis

Different types of bulbs can be planted together, just make sure that you plant them at their required depth. Plant the bigger bulbs like tulip or daffodil deeper, cover with soil, then plant your smaller bulbs like crocus, freesias or hyacinth directly above them, your top layer of bulbs should be just below the surface. If you’re planting tulips, face the flat side of the bulb outward toward the wall of the pot. When the leaves and blossom stalks emerge, they’ll grow up and outward, instead of crowding toward the centre. Water your bulbs well after planting.