Planting Bulbs In Pots – Learn How To Plant Bulbs In Containers

Gardener Planting Bulbs Into Container
container bulbs
(Image credit: ZavgSG)

Growing bulbs in pots is one of the smartest and easiest things you can do in your garden, and it has a huge payoff. Planting bulbs in containers means you know exactly where they are, you can move them wherever they need to go to chill, and you can place them on your patio, steps, porch, or wherever they’re going to cause the biggest sensation in spring. Then, if you want to save the bulbs, you can move them out of sight to allow the foliage to fade. Keep reading to get some container bulb planting tips.

Can You Plant Bulbs In Containers?

Yes, you can! Autumn is the time to plant bulbs, and planting bulbs in containers is no exception. When picking out your container, you can go as wide as you want, but you want it to be deep enough to accommodate 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm.) of soil in the bottom, plus the height of your bulbs, plus an inch (2.5 cm.) of space below the rim. Place your bulbs so there’s no more than ½ an inch (1.25 cm.) between any of them and just cover them with potting mix. You can leave the very tops exposed. Next, your bulbs need to be chilled. The beauty of planting bulbs in containers is that this can be done anywhere, depending upon your climate and convenience. If you live in an area that experiences cool but mild winters (between 35 and 40 F. or 1 to 4 C.), you can leave your containers outdoors until spring, as long as they’re not made of ceramics or thin plastic, which can crack in the cold. If your winters are colder than that, you can leave them in an unheated but relatively warmer place, like a garage or porch. If your winters are warm, you’ll have to put them in the fridge. Don’t store them next to fruits or vegetables, though, or they might fail.

Growing Bulbs in Pots

Keep your pot moist through the winter - this is the time the bulbs are growing their roots. After 2-4 months, shoots should begin to appear. Growing bulbs in pots that mature at different points in the season (using the Lasagna method) will make for continuous and impressive blooming. Most any bulb will work well in a pot. That said, here are some common bulbs that grow well in containers:

After all the blooms have passed, move your container out of the way to allow the foliage to die back. Once it does, remove the bulbs from the soil and store them for planting again in autumn.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.