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When's the right time to bring potted bulbs out

Hello everyone, 

I am looking at when the right time is to take my potted bulbs out of the cold frame. 
I know this differs per region etc I'm in central Scotland, I believe hard frost has passed and we have plenty of rain (as always). 

There is plenty of growth and this growth has now outgrown the height of the cold frame and therefore, now bending the foliage. 

Are there any specific things I should be looking out for? Is this plentiful foliage a sign of that it is time to battle the natural elements? 

Let me know your thoughts. 

Than you, Andrew


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,032
    What kind of bulbs? That will determine the care needed.

    If they've moved on a bit too much in growth, you'll probably need to try and accommodate them a bit longer, until the ground is suitable. It's not just air temps which are the problem. It's also important to open the lid most days on cold frames - that prevents things growing too quickly, too soon, and allows a little more growth room too.

    Don't count your chickens re weather. It's been snow, sleet and hail here today  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • @Fairygirl - Thank you for your reply. 

    Alliums, Ranunculus, muscari, anemone. and a few tulips. Most are mixed displays.  They are planted in deep pots and will stay in them as I won't be putting them in the ground.
    I'm opening the lid on the cold frame but I'm afraid that's not enough anymore, probably because of the deep pots, so I can't see any way of accommodating them. Not sure what to do? 

    We had sleet today and I'm praying the high winds won't return. 
  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,053
    I had mine sheltered behind the hut in pots, but as I had lots of friends turning up yesterday I moved them to the front of the house to look like I knew what I was doing. They will grow eventually unless they get drowned by this awful weather we have had. I am in central Scotland and I think bulbs in pots here survive better than in the ground.
    SW Scotland
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,032
    More high winds and rain forecast for the weekend.
    Cold wet ground is more damaging for any plant than dry, cold conditions.
    Alliums will be best in really well drained ground, and a sunny site, so if you can't provide it, they're best in pots. I grow mine in raised beds, and they're right at the back against a wall. The soil medium is created to suit too. Tulips are the same - they need a well drained medium and sun to do well. The blousy ones will tend to diminish anyway over time, but the little species ones will return.
    Muscari will cope with much harsher conditions, and are fine in the ground, but you can start acclimatising them over the next week or two, so that you can leave them outside.
    I don't grow Ranunculus, so can't help with those, and there are different Anemones, so it depends on type again.

    I think you should keep the tulips and alliums in the cold frame for now, but perhaps construct a bit of extra protection with some fleece and battens to give you the height. In milder spells, you can start putting them outside for a while and back undercover at night, just to  minimise foliage damage.
    All of those could have been planted up and kept outside from the start  though.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • @Purplerain - I know what you mean! When I research specifics, there are so many different opinions due to different locations and continents so it's hard to garner a well constructed method, so like you, I'm hoping I'm doing the right thing. 

    @Fairygirl - Unfortunately I'm in a communal garden so everything is in pots and staying in pots. 
    I will try my best to figure something out regarding the height. 
    Thank you for going through how you plant your bulbs. I hope mine come good and I think I will have to go with some instinct eventually as with so much bad weather that has been and yet to come, I could be waiting forever for a period of dry weather and as you know, April in Scotland in so wet! 

    Thank you both again, Andrew

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,032
    I also grow lots of bulbs in pots, and some will do better than others. Tulips are definitely easier in pots here, due to the climate, but the species ones are particularly good as they are much more generous in habit. Worth looking at, as they will come back each year, so more economical. Suits us canny Scots eh?   :D
    Alliums can be a bit hit and miss, so you may find they don't do terribly well in the pots long term. 
    Even a small screen of some kind to keep the worst of the weather off the foliage would help, but it would need to be well secured, so that depends on the site you have. Once acclimatised a bit, they would be fine. 
    Gardening is a big learning curve, and getting to know, and working with, your conditions is the most important thing really.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,213
    @Andrew.D.P  I would think your pots would be fine if you can line them up by a wall or shed, which would give them some protection. Like you I also had mine in pots  (mainly daffs and tulip, crocuses and dwarf irises) in a coldframe/greenhouse to keep them safe from squirrels/mice) but took them out when they got too tall. Didn't bother with acclimatising them (too heavy to keep shifting). As long as you can keep a bit of fleece or bubblewrap round the pots if it freezes, they should be ok.  I ought to add that I'm in Somerset not in Scotland though! Hope they look lovely later.
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