Grow Bulbs in Pots

With proper conditions it is rather easy to plant and grow bulbs in pots for winter bloom. Bulbs are still available in stores. Some at bargain prices.

The easiest bulbs to grow are amaryllis and paper white narcissus. Both are sold as pre-treated bulbs which will bloom in 4 to 6 weeks without any special temperature treatment. Amaryllis have large cone shaped flowers in red, orange, white and bicolor shades. Paper white narcissus are available in white or yellow varieties. Flowers look like clusters of miniature daffodils.

I have seen amaryllis and paper whites recently in stores sold as kits including bulbs, container and planting mix. Bulbs are also sold separately in full service nurseries and garden stores. You can then supply your own, more attractive containers and use any potting soil mix.

Both amaryllis and paper whites can be grown at normal room temperatures. Paper whites do better if started at temperatures around 60 degrees so they do not grow quite as tall.

With cold treatment, daffodils, tulips, crocus, and hyacinths can also be forced into bloom in pots. Shorter tulips like Triumph varieties are the best for forcing. Hyacinths can be forced in special hyacinth glasses with a lower compartment for roots and an upper one for the bulbs and leaves. No soil is required in these special glasses.

Smaller bulbs like crocus and miniature daffodils can be planted several bulbs to a 4 inch pot. Larger bulbs are usually planted in 6 or 8 inch pots. Mixtures of bulbs can be planted in larger tubs. Bulbs should be planted so that they are just barely covered with soil mix. This gives more room for root growth. Bulbs should be planted close together so that they almost touch.

Bulbs need about 12 weeks in the dark at a temperature between 40 and 50 degrees. An extra refrigerator works very well. This period is necessary for root growth and development. After 12 weeks pots can be brought into the light at room temperature and will bloom in 2 to 3 weeks.

I plant mixtures of bulbs in tubs and just leave them on the patio to bloom at their normal time. I plant earlier blooming crocus and miniature daffodils on the outer edges and taller daffodils and tulips in the center.

It is fun to watch the bulbs grow from sprouting to full bloom. Children are especially fascinated.

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