Containers forum: Bulbs in containers

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Jan 24, 2018 7:30 AM CST
Last spring my family received a bulb arrangement for a funeral. Once the leaves died, I replanted the bulbs in some small containers. I left the containers outside all summer and into the winter. Recently, we had a fairly good warm up after a few weeks of very cold temperatures. I noticed a couple of green stalks poking out of the soil. This is the northeast and it is going to get cold again, February is usually our worst month for cold and snow. My question is should I leave the pots out in the elements and let the weather take it's course, or should I bring the pots in to prevent freezing now that the bulbs appear to be active?

Thank You!
Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
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Jan 24, 2018 8:44 AM CST
I would leave the pot outside and cover it with leaves, bringing it in now will only confuse it. Other members will have more suggestions for you. Whats your zone or location? That helps us help you Smiling

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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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Jan 24, 2018 10:14 AM CST
And knowing what kind of bulbs would also help. Not all bulbs behave the same way.

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Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
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Jan 24, 2018 11:02 AM CST
In colder zones, most bulbs, tulips, daffodils, crocuses, even lilies "sense" when it is too cold to totally emerge from the soil. I would leave them alone. In fact, I have a ton of crocuses potted in the basement, ( didn't get to plant them outside in time (300)) and I am taking them outside today to introduce same to the elements. Cheers!

Jan 24, 2018 12:28 PM CST
Thanks for the info. Location is Catonsville, Md. (Zone 7a?) The bulbs were tulips. Just joined. When I get a chance I will update my profile. Thanks again.
Name: Sue
SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b)
Container Gardener Canning and food preservation Dog Lover
Jan 25, 2018 12:46 AM CST
I'd bring them in overnight only if it was going to get below freezing. And you can just put them in a garage or even just on the floor in an unheated room. Just so they don't get damaged. Not too hard, since they're in a pot.

I have some freesias in a pot on my balcony here in CA. They have sprouted nicely, and it's gotten down to mid 30's or so, and it hasn't phased them.

Keep an eye out for squirrels, by the way. They love tulips.

And by the way, in my opinion the worst thing that would happen if you brought them inside and left them inside - is that they would simply bloom inside. You'd just be forcing blooms. Nothing wrong with that. And that way you'd know for sure they wouldn't die from freezing.

Since they've already started sprouting, it's no big deal to just keep them inside and let them think that spring just got lovely nice and early.

I used to force bulbs every year to give as Christmas presents when I lived in the Pacific Northwest. Once they think it's spring, and they've started growing, there's no harm in letting them go for it, in my experience.

On the other hand, if they think it's spring and then get a hard frost, that can mess them up. They'll probably deal with okay as long as it's not too severe, but my point is that they'd be less confused by continuing to think it's spring - than to let them think it's spring and then freeze them again.
Name: Rick Moses
Derwood, MD (Zone 7b)
Hostas Ferns Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Forum moderator Region: United States of America
Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Maryland Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Feb 21, 2018 10:14 AM CST
Welcome! @cprenegade !

I'm 'down' in Derwood. I would follow Christine's advice with the leaves. The air spaces between the leaves help to insulate the pot and bulbls. It can also help keep the squirrel and deer from replanting or eating the bulbs.

We have an in-person swap coming up in May in the Glen Burnie / Severna Park area.

The Mid-Atlantic group is loosely defined as DC/MD/NJ/NY/PA/VA/WV. Jump into the discussion at

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