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A good time to plant tulips and narcissi?

WildFlower_UKWildFlower_UK Posts: 236
edited November 2020 in Plants
I think I'm fine but wanted to check first! I have some Narcissi 'Minnow' and Tulip 'Blue Sensation' bulbs. Enough for some minnow in the ground and a mix of both in two small 30cm pots. Is now a good time to plant them up? 

For the ground minnows I expect I can just plant them straight in. For the mixed pots, do I just put them in at the same depth as each other (around twice the depth as their height)? Or stagger their depth lasagne style? Eg minnow is set to flower Feb/Mar and the tulips in Apr, so should I plant the tulips below (by what depth?) the minnows?

The pots have MP compost from this year (used for tomatoes and basil). Will replenishing with a third new compost be adequate? 

Do I need to protect the pots from frost or add a bark/straw mulch layer?
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need"

Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,742
    I wouldn't mix them. Tulips need much drier conditions, although they'd be fine for one season. Tulips diminish anyway over a couple of years, unless they have perfect growing conditions. 
    If you do them together- you just plant at the correct depth for the bulb - ie about three times the depth. 
    They bulbs have what they need in them already. The growing medium makes no difference, apart from making sure there's adequate drainage. A feed or two when they're dying down next year is beneficial though. 
    Gravel makes the pots look smart, and also helps prevent soil splashing onto the bulbs when they're growing, but things like bark just make the soil wetter and are unsuitable. 
    They need absolutely no need for protection. Completely hardy everywhere in the UK, even the north of Scotland. ;)
    If it's excessively wet where you are, you could keep the pots against a house wall to prevent waterlogging of the tulips. It's why I never mix them, as daffs/narcissus are happier with a bit more moisture. Excessive wet leads to rotting, but again - unless you have a very wet climate, they'll be fine, especially in pots. Different in the ground  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
    As Fairy girl says, but if imperfect is okay then put them in the ground.  My first set of tulips, cheap as well, are still flowering in the random place I put them four/five years ago.

    Ive come to prefer tulips in pots though, and leave daffodils in the ground.  As well as the plants prefering it, it makes it easier to move the tulips in and out as they bloom and fade.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,742
    After about three years here, tulips are totally finished - I might get the odd one here and there, and only if it's in the raised bed against the house wall. Far too wet for them. I love tulips, but they aren't well suited to my conditions. The species ones are easier, but they still need the right growing medium. 
    I can minimise what happens below ground, to a certain extent, but I can't change my climate here. Cold, wet winters see them off too readily   ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thanks @Fairygirl and @JoeX! I took your advice and planted just the tulips in pots with the same compost already in there. And I popped the daffs in the ground. We have clay soil and although the small border I put the daffs in already had some compost mixed in, I scooped out a good 8-10 inches of soil and added some grit at the bottom for better drainage, mixed a bit bit more (spent) compost into the soil and covered them up.

    The border also had some bark mulch which, when digging up, got mixed into the soil. Is it ok to re-add some bark on top of the daff bed? I know you say tulips won't like it but I guess moisture living daffs will be ok with this. It's in a full sun. 

    Fairygirl said:
    Gravel makes the pots look smart, and also helps prevent soil splashing onto the bulbs when they're growing, but things like bark just make the soil wetter and are unsuitable. 
    @Fairygirl - not sure what is meant by the gravel preventing soil splashing onto the bulbs. I presume you mean the new flower growth and not the actual (buried) bulb? If so, I have some nice ornamental grit I can add, presuming the tulips will grow fine through the grit layer? It would only be 1-2cm deep as I don't have much left.
    "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need"
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,742
    Yes - in the same way that it stops alpines' delicate foliage being damaged, and their stems and crowns rotting. It just stops soil being splashed onto the foliage and stems, and keeps them looking smart. 
    Bark is fine around daffs, although don't have a thick layer especially round smaller types. Again, if you live in a drier area, it's less of a problem.

    A layer of grit won't stop any bulb getting through  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Lovely stuff! I'll tip the remaining grit in into my tulip pot and add a shallow layer of bark to the daffs :) Can't wait for Spring now!
    "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need"
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