The Q&A Archives: planting spring bulbs in containers

Question: I live in southern lower Michigan in an apartment building, second floor, on the north side. I do get some morning sun and some late afternoon sun. Is it going to be possible for me to plant spring bulbs in containers and have them survive? If so, how should I go about this?

Answer: Spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils and tulips are easy to grow in pots. Plant them in fall at the same time as you'd put bulbs in the ground. Here's how to create containers of showstoppers for your patio, or deck or porch:

Select an attractive ceramic, clay or wooden container. Pots with a diameter of 10 to 12 inches work nicely. That's big enough for 8 to 12 tulips or daffodils.

Fill the pot with enough quality potting soil so that bulbs placed on top can be covered with enough soil to bury them at the proper planting depth (at least an inch or more).

Mix some slow-release bulb fertilizer into the top of the potting soil.

Set the bulbs on top of the soil in the pot. The closer together they are, the more flowers you'll get at bloom time.

Fill the pot with soil to within an inch of the top. Then water thoroughly.

Place the pots in a cool spot and cover with several inches of mulch. Check the pots often and water if necessary through winter.

Keep the pots moist until after bloom.

Fertilize every two to four weeks with a liquid plant food. Follow label instructions.

Move the pots to an out-of-the-way spot after bloom. Keep moist until foliage dries. At that time you can either dig and store the bulbs in a cool place until planting time in the fall or you can plant annuals in the pot (right over the bulbs) to enjoy during the summer months.

Best wishes with your container garden!

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