Beginner gardener's query

Hello all,

I am fairly new to gardening and am wondering if some of you might fill me in with an answer to something that has been bending my brain in previous years.

I have only ever really done summer gardening. I let my garden, mainly all pots, die back in Autumn then tidy it up and leave it til Spring.

However, I have recently become a gardening addict! I'm totally loving everything to do with gardening and my yard is adorned with gorgeous pots filled with lovely growing things!

So, this year I am planning to start year-round gardening, with a colourful winter garden and then lots of flowering bulbs in the Spring. I've already ordered a lot of what I want to use. Exciting!

Anyway, what I don't fully understand is this:

All my pots and the little raised bed I have at the end of my yard are currently full of plants. Some are annuals but most are perennials which are obviously going to start shooting up in Spring. Can I plant bulbs in these pots or do I have to have fresh pots for all my bulbs (would be difficult as I haven't the room for both)?

I just don't understand how, if there are flourishing daffodils or crocuses for example in the pot, the newly shooting perennials can come through undisturbed.

Please can you advise? Sorry if I'm being a complete dimwit. Hope I've been able to explain that correctly!

Thanks, Mel


  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,194

    Not a dimwit at all.

    Firstly, it depends on what size of pots you have and what type of perennial you have planted. You need enough space in the soil to accommodate both plants' roots plus the bulbs.  If your perennials are fussy about soil, acid-loving etc, you might need to check that the bulbs are compatible. 

    Then there is the question of feeding. Bulbs need quite a deep planting hole and may or may not need more or less in the way of food supplements than the perennials.

    Thirdly, bulbs flower and then go dormant. You can't cut their leaves off because they need them to build up the bulb for next year. Would you be happy with trailing, yellowing, dying leaves around the base of your perennials? Could you hide them under whatever they were growing?

    And will the sunlight demands if both types of plant be the same

    Finally, bulbs multiply by division. So they will eventually push themselves out of the pots and/or squeeze out the roots of the perennials. So they will need to be kept under control by repotting from time to time. Will you be able to turf out the contents of the pots and replant them when necessary?

    I'm sure that there are other things to take into account, but I can't think of them just now.image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Wow, ok, lots to consider then!

    Crikey, I'm going to be the expert after this year! (hopefully!)

    Thanks pansyface image

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Container gardening is different to planting in beds raised or otherwise. Many gardeners plant pots to come at different times of the year coordinating foliage with bulbs or early flowering half hardy annuals with bulbs which are then emptied and replanted for the summer with summer flowering annuals or perennials. With beds you have the opportunity to mix up all sorts, with bulbs underneath perennials which hide the dying foliage of the spring bulbs. They will nearly always find their way through plants planted above them, unless they are densely rooted perennials. So choose your perennials carefully.

    Daffodils and crocus are easy bulbs which don't mind being planted over, tulips unless planted deeply usually require lifting after the foliage dies down, so are sometimes planted in trays and lifted and stored.

    The key I find is plenty of organic manure or compost homemade or bought in and then spread on beds during the year.

    There are a host of books on container gardening and you will get suggestions from others on here as to their personal favourites'.

    Perceived wisdom's can be ignored or taken on board, but containers do limit your choices as food and water need to be added to get the best results.

    I'm happy for you that you now have the bug and can only say the knowledge you will get from this forum is worth a thousand books. No question is silly, the only question which is is the one you don't ask.

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Hi Mel, i wonder if more woodlandy things might suit your plans better, bluebells, snowdrops, winter aconite etc, these are all plants which are more delicate and smaller, they may be a bit more accomodating, this is also a bot more unusual that daffs? image
  • Aw, thanks Dave and bekkie. image

Sign In or Register to comment.