Container Gardens | Garden Design | Spring Planted Bulbs

Planting Summer Flowering Bulbs in Containers


Container gardening is an accessible way to garden that nearly everyone can participate in. People living in condos and apartments rely on gardening in containers, so they may have plants in their outdoor space. Planting flower bulbs in containers is also a great way to expand your garden area for homeowners with limited space. Of course, adding pots to the entry of your home or patio creates a welcome scene. For people looking for inspiration on what to plant in pots this summer try planting flower bulbs!

Planting Flower Bulbs in Containers

Before we get into our list of the best flower bulbs to plant in containers, let’s go over some basics for the best results.

Container Selection

The first thing to consider is what type of container you will be planting the bulbs in. Flower bulbs need to be planted in soil that drains well; therefore, the container must have drainage holes in the bottom. The size of the container will vary based on the number of bulbs planted in it. However, in general, the container should be at least 6″ in diameter for most bulbs. The container can be plastic, ceramic, wood, or clay, as long as it allows for adequate drainage. Certain pots like those made from clay will dry out quicker, and therefore, may require more frequent watering.

Best Soil for Pots

When your planters have been selected you will want to consider the soil that is used in them. Since we know that flower bulbs require adequate drainage the soil should be loose and have some nutrients in it. The best choice is potting soil that is packaged for container gardens. If the soil is stored indoors or under the cover that is best, as sometimes soil bags on outdoor pallets can get wet and have increased moisture in them. Therefore, we suggest when at your local garden store buy bagged soil that appears dry on the outside.

Sun Exposure

Think about how much sun the container will receive. Pots located on the north or eastGuide to Sunlight Conditions in the Garden side will receive less sun and the soil in the containers is more likely to stay cool and moist. Containers located on the west or south side will receive more sun, therefore, they may get rather hot and need water more frequently.  Container plantings under the shade of trees, pergolas, and other structures will also tend to be more shaded.

Site Selection

Select a side that the container can sit flat on. This will help to ensure the pot doesn’t get knocked over and that water is distributed evenly. Consider where the pots are in relation to the water source you plan to use to water the pots. If the pots will be further away from the hose or main water source you will want a few watering cans to make watering easier.

Is it windy where I will be planting the containers? That is a question to ask yourself when determining where to locate the containers. If it tends to be windy, consider adding rocks to the bottom of the container to add weight so it doesn’t get knocked over.

Watering Potted Flower Bulbs

Flower bulbs planted in containers require water more often than flower bulbs planted in the ground. It’s hard to say exactly how often the container plantings will need water. Site locations, container selection, flower bulb type, and soil all play a factor in how frequently to water.

The best way to determine if your pots need water is to stick a finger about 1-2″ into the soil. If the soil feels moist or damp, it most likely won’t need water at that moment.  For containers located in hot and sunny locations check the soil more than once per day, as they tend to dry out quicker.  When the soil feels dry and crumbly it’s a good idea to give the plants a drink of water.

When watering container gardens it is best to water directly into the soil and avoid water touching the leaves. Add enough water so that it drains through the bottom of the pot, this is how you know the plant is getting thoroughly watered down to its roots.

Fertilizing Potted Flower Bulbs

Slow-release fertilizer can be added to the soil when the bulbs are first planted. About 2-3 months after the containers are planted fertilizing with a liquid fertilizer that releases at a quicker rate is suggested. Plants in containers use more nutrients, and therefore, require more frequent fertilizer. This will help increase the amount and size of the flowers your potted flower bulbs produce.

Bulb Selection

Certain types of flower bulbs grow better than others in containers. In a future blog post about planting flower bulbs in containers, we will go into more detail about the best types of bulbs to plant in pots.

Our top ten types of flower bulbs for containers:

  1. Dwarf Canna Lilies
  2. Calla Lilies
  3. Elephant Ears
  4. Double Begonias
  5. Hanging Basket Begonias
  6. Pineapple Lilies
  7. Hardy Miniature Gladiolus
  8. Ranunculus
  9. Dwarf Border Dahlias
  10. Pompon Dahlias

Time to Start Planning Your Container Garden

The basics have been covered to help get you started in planning and planting your container garden this summer. Knowing the light requirements, soil conditions, container type, and what bulbs are best is a great start to a successful flower bulb garden in pots.

Keep an eye out for more details on the Top 10 Flower Bulbs to plant in containers. It will provide more details for planting requirements on the specific varieties.

Need Gardening Help?

If you need any help with gardening or if you have plant-related questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to Jenny San Filippo. She can provide you with the knowledge and tools needed to succeed with your next project!

Contact Jenny

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