The Q&A Archives: Rotting Bulbs in Containers

Question: Whenever I plant daffodil bulbs outdoors in a container they always rot. What could I be doing wrong or is there a special technique?

Answer: There are several possible causes but the most likely one is that they have been frozen. If you use containers it is a good idea to put the container in a sheltered but cold place (such as a garage or cold frame) or to bury it in the ground or to heap piles of mulch around it for the winter so that the bulbs undergo the needed "chilling period" yet are insulated so they don't freeze. Another common reason is that the drainage is poor. Be sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of the pot and add a bit of sand or grit to the mix to be sure it drains freely. If you are trying to use a window box or other container not suited to being moved around, plant the bulbs in plain pots and then in spring set the pots into the fancy containers and surround them with mulch to camouflage what you have done. Good luck with your bulbs!

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