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I want to create my first winter pot

I've never planted up anything for the autumn/winter months yet and have been looking online at videos, the 'lasagne' layering for bulbs looks really good (larger to smaller from bottom to top) and possibly trailing ivy with some viola or even a hardy plant in the middle? 

What I would like to know is when I go looking for bulbs is there anything in particular with regards to tulips/crocus/daffs I should look for?

Are some better (easier to grow) than others?  What sort of container should I use?  At the moment all I have left is a half whisky barrel but am wondering if it will be frost proof or even too big?

Would appreciate any ideas/advice from anyone who is kind enough to respond.

Many thanks



  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Posts: 37,261

    Hi Renata. The bulbs you mention are Spring flowerers so you woudn't get any show in the Autumn/Winter that you want. However you can still plant the bulbs and plant other Winter flowerers over the top of them. I personally like the small/miniature daffs as they don't get so battered by the winds where I live. The species crocuses are also lovely. Over the top of those you could have the Winter flowering pansies for a lovely splash of colour with maybe a little evergreen/gold tree in the centre. For slightly later flowering you could use primulas/polyanthuses. Your whisky barrel sounds ideal as a container.

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353

    In addition to what Ladybird has said, crocus and daffs are pretty foolproof - just plant at the correct depth. Tulips need good drainage, so use a nice gritty compost for those.

    It's normally recommended to plant tulips later in the year when it's colder, to avoid the viruses, so if you're buying some in the next few weeks, you may want to keep them somewhere colder for a month or so. I usually just plant them and keep them in a shady spot and have never had any issues. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,583

    You can have a decent display all winter if you concentrate on foliage rather than flowers......some pansies/violas can look tatty after a while and who wants of be faffing around dead heading things in drizzle. Heuchera will give you fabulous colour, some carex such as evergold will brighten up a gloomy winter's day, euonymus emerald n' gold looks great all year, and variegated ivy looks nice drooping across the front of a pot. You can plant your bulbs around these plants and get a display of flowers in the spring. If you use the shorter daffodils and tulips, they will pop up between the other plants without towering over them and looking out of proportion.

  • Hello Ladies

    THANK YOU for your help, didn't realise anyone had responded so only saw your messages today AFTER I went shopping ... can you believe I bought all my bulbs/plants at 'The Range' (they were all on offer so even if I mess it up not a lot of harm done).  Okay so this is my list:

    Two lovely glazed pots with drainage holes (on offer so couldn't resist).

    12 Queen of the night tulips

    10 Dutch iris (purple sensation)

    20 Snow glories

    6 Allium purple sensation - haven't had much luck in my border with these so thought I would chuck some in a pot to see what happens.

    35 Specie crocus (ruby giant) which are purple in colour so not sure why called 'ruby' - glad you like these Ladybird!

    20 Dwarf Iris - reticula blue

    Twin pack blue/white iris

    2 cyclamen

    2 small pots trailing variegated ivy

    An Aster plant (has purpley/blue daisy like leaves) - was on offer at Lidl.

    10 small viola plants - sorry Ceres, bought them before I saw your post so will have to faff around deadheading in the drizzle lol (or I could make my husband go out and do that) :-)

    I saw some euonymous and could kick myself for not getting it but might go back and get some.  I also bought a bag of 'bulb potting soil', dithered over this because all video's I've seen show them using multi-purpose peat free compost, could I mix this new soil with the normal MP compost?

    I know it seems a lot of bulbs there but they were on offer, also what I don't use in the pots I'm hoping I can put some in my rockery?

    You might notice I've gone for a lot of purple there (apart from the cyclamen which are red/white).

    So, what I'm thinking is that I put the biggest bulbs at the bottom and work my way up, (but now that I have seen Fairygirls comment about it not being cold enough for the tulips I don't know what to do).

    I was wondering whether the whisky barrel would be to wide (it really is big) but maybe I could use that if I went and got some euonymous and used that with the aster/ivy to make a bigger arrangement?

    I will take a photo of the pots and post them and hopefully be able to ask you which order YOU would put the plants in and what you would advise regarding soil.  Do I need to add the slow release food in with the bulbs?

    I really really appreciate your help, just think, next spring I can post the photos of YOUR arrangements, I have 3 to do so I could name them all after you and post photos. I will tell anyone who admires them that I got help from my personal gardening experts lol.  Need to find out what Heuchera are too.

    I was planning on doing the planting up this week but what about the tulip bulbs? 

    Will get back to you (if you don't mind)

    with love



    p.s Dare I admit I don't really like daffodils??

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353

    Hi Renata - re the tulips. It's normally recommended to plant them later in the year as they can be susceptible to virus in the warmer weather of early autumn. If you're in a warmer part of the country, you can simply keep them in a cool place for now -  a garage or something if you have that. I often  just plant them and keep them in a cool place outside, as we don't have the higher temps that areas further south have anyway. They like better drainage than many of the other bulbs you've bought, so you might want to plant them separately from the others anyway  image

    A whisky barrel crammed with bulbs will make a great display - you'll be surprised how quickly the bulbs will be used! I have a 15 inch pot just planted with white Joan of Arc crocus. There's around 60 bulbs in it.


    Admit away - we all like different things image

    Some of the little semi doubles are beautiful though - Cheerfulness is delightful image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Hi Fairygirl

    Your crocus look gorgeous!!  I've put my tulip bulbs in the garage, will leave them until November, had a bit of a read-up and there seem to be a few viruses that affect them if planted too early so really glad you told me about that.  I live in West Yorkshire so it maybe cold enough at the end of October.  Will put them in on their own so I can put some grit in too for the drainage.

    Have taken photos of my pots - the two blue one's and the whisky barrel. The barrel is upside down at the moment to stop it constantly filling with rain.  I think I need a whole lot more bulbs if I use the whisky barrel, it's massive.

    Have you got any thoughts on the other bulbs I've got and which one's to plant in the blue pots?

    image   image

    many thanks



  • Ren, you certianly need to drill some holes in the bottom of the whisky barrel if using it as a planter.  Eight to ten 10mm diameter holes would be enough.  Alternatively, it would make a pretty nice mini-water garden as it does hold water and you could (say) plant (just one) miniature water lily in it for instance.

    As far as bulbs go, I always use minaiture varieties of narcissi in pots as the standard types usually flop and look horrible as they are finishing.  I also only use 3 different types of bulbs when layering - tulips at the lowest layer then narcissi and crocus for instance.  There are some beautiful varieties of crocus if you look around although many of the more unusual varieties don't last for me.  To be perfectly honest, I treat all bulbs in containers as annuals as tulips and many crocus don't come back well.  When I empty them, everything goes into the borders and what survives, survives, everything else turns into natural compost! image

    Last edited: 11 September 2016 15:41:40

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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