We're now rounding the corner to the tail-end of August and fall is not far behind. I wanted to remind Bay Area gardeners to take a peek at their garden catalogs for any bulb-type flowers they'd like for their spring garden, yard, or porch. After the dark days of winter, nothing is more welcome than a porch full of blossoms – and bulbs love pots!
Container-planted bulbs aren't fussy, but two things can make all the difference: Well-draining soil and a container that has adequate drainage. Bulbs don't like sopping soil and under these conditions, they'll soon be covered in mildew or rot.
Don't forget that depending on the variety, most bulbs should be planted in their containers in the fall so that they have a chill period during winter. Another rule of thumb is to plant bulbs so they're not touching each other; give them a little space in between. Once again, get information on your particular variety.
Because spring-blooming bulbs such as tulips, crocuses, and daffodils are usually planted before the cold months, containers can be exposed to hard frosts that can break or crack them. Combat this by insulating them with bubble wrap or storing them in a basement as opposed to out in the elements. On the other hand, you could always plant them in wooden containers, baskets, or plastic instead of terra-cotta or thin ceramic pots.
To get the most the most bang for your bulb, layer them inside containers. Plant the first row deeper than the directions call for (it'll be fine in a pot), then add an inch or two of soil before placing more bulbs into the pot. Repeat.
For a brilliant, extended show, you can layer the same variety. Bulbs aren't the type to re-bloom (during the same season), so consider planting a bulb type that flowers a little later so the blooming period is staggered. Also, try planting a larger bulb variety with some smaller ones.
If you've never planted pots full of bulbs before give it a go this fall season, and I promise it'll become one of your autumn traditions.