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Spring-flowering bulbs are an excellent choice for containers. They provide interest by their bright colors early in the season and after flowering you can clean and use the pots for summer bedding displays. You can try to combine bulbs with spring-flowering bedding plant for a better spring display. You can also combine bulbs in permanent displays with trees, shrubs and perennials.

Planting Container Bulbs

For planting bulbs you can choose any container as long as it has drainage holes so it doesn’t get waterlogged and is big enough especially for bigger bulbs. Use an all-purpose potting compost for bulbs and a loam-based compost for permanent displays. Take care that the compost doesn’t dry out, not even in winter. Add a mulch to conserve moisture and to keep down weeds.

Plant bulbs for a spring window box

Choose a window box big enough to accommodate your bulbs. Cover the drainage holes with a layer of broken pots or pieces of chipped bark that will aid the drainage and prevent the potting mix from falling out when you water the container. Add a 2.5 cm layer of compost and then arrange the bulbs. You can plant more bulbs if you will put them in layers. Place the larger ones at the lower level spacing them slightly apart then add more compost. Position the smaller bulbs so that they lie between the larger ones and top up with more compost leaving a 2.5 cm of space at the top of the container for watering.

Plant a late spring container

For this you will need late-flowering variety of tulips and wallflowers. Choose a large pot and cover the drainage holes with broken crocks and add a layer of grit for extra drainage. Also you can add some grit into the compost. Part-fill the container with compost allowing enough room for the tulips to be planted under twice their own depth of compost. Usually tulips are planted in late autumn or early winter to reduce the risk of disease but this is no longer a problem in a container. Arrange the tulip bulbs on the compost, nose upwards and cover them with more compost, bringing the level to within 2.5 cm of the rim of the pot.

Wallflowers should flower at about the same time as the late-flowering tulips. For more interest you should choose them in a complementary color than the tulips and if you can find, choose a scented variety. If you have bought them in a bunch then separate them carefully before planting. Plant them above the tulips, firming the compost gently around their roots. Water the container well and then allow it to drain. Keep it just moist but not too wet throughout the winter and watered more frequently when growth begins.

Plant a permanent container

For a container with year-round interest you can choose as base for the display evergreens such as dwarf conifers and ivies. Then you can fill the gaps with colorful bulbs followed by bedding plants. Choose containers that are large enough to suit your combination. Plant the base first starting with the center piece, usually the evergreen tree, followed by the ivy, equally spaced around the edges. Then position the bulbs on the surface of the compost to make sure they are evenly spaced around the edges. You can choose dwarf bulbs that multiply freely, this way your display will improve year after year. Plant the bulbs with a trowel and water well. If you are adding bulbs to a container with already established plants, try not to disturb their roots when planting the bulbs. Also be careful if you are adding bedding plants after the bulbs.

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They are half hardy, cormous perennials from sandy, lowland soils to rocky upland slopes in South Africa, growing from a corm of 1-2.5 cm diameter, which sends up a tuft of narrow leaves of 10-30 cm long and a sparsely branched stem of 10-40 cm tall bearing a few leaves and a loose one-sided spike of funnel-shaped, usually scented, brightly colored flowers that appear in late winter to early spring. There are both double and single flower forms. Their color may vary from white to pink, orange, red, yellow, blue or lavender.

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