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Overwintering pots of bulbs in a glasshouse

BerkleyBerkley Posts: 428
I have lost so many bulbs planted in borders in the last few years …. squirrels? Mice? It doesn’t seem to matter how deep I plant them. So this year I have planted miniature tulips and allium Purple Sensation in pots, which I intend to place in a cold plant house over Winter. I am anxious not to over or under water them and would appreciate advice on frequency of watering. Water when planted then check once a month to make sure there is some moisture? There will also be pots of agapanthus and alstromeria overwintering there. Would the same guidelines apply?


  • I'm no expert so don't rely on my advice too much but I kept some pots of bulbs in plastic greenhouses in Winter last year. Partly to stop them getting too wet and partly to stop my cat digging them up. I'm not convinced I ever watered them, or if I did, it was rare. I had an agapanthus in one too - that survived though I've not got it to flower in two years, but that's another story!
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353
    If you mean species tulips, there's no need for those to be undercover at all. If they're in the correct site [sunny with really well drained soil] they're fine - totally hardy.
    If you get bothered by squirrels, use some chicken wire over the top of the areas they're in. I don't find mice bother them - squirrels are more likely to be the culprits, or wet, heavy soil. They'll rot in that. 
    If you do keep them in a greenhouse or similar, don't cosset them, and keep them well ventilated and on the dry side. They'll rarely, if ever, need watered.  :)

    I doubt you'd need  to do anything else with the alstromerias and agapanthus either, but I don't grow either of them now. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,981
    I do the same, to keep most of my bulbs away from squirrels and voles. Never sure of how often to water them but believe I've read somewhere recently that they don't need watering until the first green shoots show. Hope more advice is forthcoming.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,162
    I keep pots of bulbs in my cold greenhouse, tulips, narcissus and muscari.
    I don't water them unless we have had an extremely mild and dry spell later in the Winter (when the greenhouse starts seeing the sun again). They have to be bone dry several centimetres down.
    As @Lizzie27 says, the general consensus is to start watering when the shoots appear (l seem to recall Monty  saying something similar on last night's GW.)
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    edited October 2021
    It can cause problems with timing as it can get surprisingly warm inside a greenhouse during the winter and tulips will come up early, sometimes very early, causing a problem if it's still too frosty when you need to plant them out.  That happened to me a few years ago, and many of the flowers came and went before they could be planted out.  However, I think I must have had one of the prettiest greenhouses around at the time!  :D
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,162
    My trouble is lack of space @BobTheGardener, not to mention a squirrel taking a fancy to my tulip bulbs a few years ago. I put several pots behind the greenhouse covered with old bits of trellis and weighted down with bricks which seems to do the trick.
    The "overflow" tulips in the greenhouse seem to appear and then pause so maybe l've just been lucky up to now.
    Bet your greenhouse was a real picture  :)
  • BerkleyBerkley Posts: 428
    All your comments are appreciated. I’m reassured that I’m not doing anything stupid and (unless we get Summer temperatures in January) will not feel the need to water.
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