The Q&A Archives: Growing Bulbs In Window Boxes On Deck

Question: I had hoped to grow bulbs in my deck rail flower boxes for blooming next spring: specifically, Daffodil Baby Moon, Snow Crocuses, and Snowdrops. Can you tell me if this would work, and if so how to go about planting them (and chilling them?) so they bloom in the spring. We live in North Idaho, and the temperatures are not necessarily very stable throughout the winter; we have quite a bit of colder weather, then warming, then colder, etc. I have heard this can be damaging to bulbs?

Answer: Surprisingly enough, growing bulbs in window boxes is difficult because they are not sufficiently insulated from the cold in addition to being more suscpetible to the temperatures swings. In my experience it is better to plant the bulbs in pots, sink the pots in the ground, then in spring as the bulbs emerge, place the pots into the window boxes. This provides insulation and natural chilling for the bulbs; it also allows you to remove them from the window box easily when it is time for the foliage to grow and cure. You can then replant the boxes for the summer display and the bulbs can then be planted in the ground for future years' displays.

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