Bulbs, bulbs and more bulbs!

Hello, I have 7 large stone pots that have been neglected for a couple of years so I'm emptying them out and thinking of having them as sort of mini bulb gardens. I'm hoping I'll end up with a splash of colour right through the year. Here's my list for planting, is it a bit ambitious? Snowdrops Tete a tete Crocus Tulips Bluebells Hyacinths Alliums Colchicums Nerines Thanks!


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,626

    I would keep it simple and do no more than 3 layers of bulbs that succeed each other in flowering times eg tall tulips in the bottom as they require the deepest planting depth and will flower in April/May, then daffs for March and crocuses for February.

    Bluebells are best naturalised in a woodland corner under trees or shrubs.   Snowdrops don't like to dry out so are also best in the ground where they will also spread themselves.   I find hyacinths have such a strong perfume they are best in a pot by themselves so they can be brought into prominence when in flower and moved out of the way when they go over.

    I like alliums best coming up through perennials such as hardy geraniums and they are good plants to put near roses as they help deter greenfly.

    The Vendée, France
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,727

    Do you mean putting all of those in the same pot, or having a mix? 

    I'd do a couple crammed with just one variety for real impact next to an entrance or  either side of a gate or something, and have the rest a mix, but I wouldn't put all the varieties in one pot.

    Something I like to do is plant up several plastic pots the same size which will fit inside a nice pot . You can then swap those during the season instead of having to change them round in the specimen pots. I do them with a single variety of bulb but you could have 7 pots of early bulbs together, then change them for summer ones and so on. That might be an easier way of doing all your different types image

  • Thanks for the quick replies! I'm after different mixes in the pots. Maybe I should have given you more details of the size of the pots. Sorry! They are all roughly the same depth, about 12 inches. There are 4 pots along the lawn (36 x 18 inch surface area), 2 in front of the house (32 x 23), and one at the back of the house (36 x 36). I like the idea of swapping pots inside the nice pots but I think they're a bit big for that image
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,626

    Keep it simple whatever you do.  I once did an ambitious 7 layers in a 60cm pot and it was a mess with foliage going over on the early bulbs and spoiling the display of the later ones.   They didn't all like the competition either and some came up short.

    The Vendée, France
  • I know what you mean about the competition. Hardly anything came up in the pots along the lawn last year but I have literally hundreds of bulbs now out of them and I don't know what they are! image luckily I have somewhere I can plant them to see what comes up.
  • keeping it simple is key. Consider also dead/dying foliage of earlier bloomers which can ruin the display of later flowers pushing through ... I'd seriously try and find some way to 'line' them as Fairygirl suggested so that you can keep changing the display throughout the year and thus not sacrifice all your precious bulbs. that way, when the bulbs are done lift out liners and let foliage die down so they're good to go again next year and you can fill the containers with annuals/perennials for summer/autumn display

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,727

    I agree with obelixx about snowdrops and bluebells - best in the ground not pots. You can get away with a little clump of snowdrops in a temporary display with a grass and a small shrub or something similar, but not kept there permanently. It's also a good idea to keep things together which have similar needs, so be particularly careful with alliums as they mostly like sun and sharp drainage.

    As the others have said - keep it simple to give the best result  image 

  • Colchicum and Nerines flower in Autumn / now

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