Gardening for Beginners: How to Plant Bulbs in Pots

Regardless of size, your garden deserves to be filled with bouts of colour and fragrance throughout the year. Containers are a perfect way to plant and grow your favourite seasonal blooms if you lack the space!

Planting bulbs in containers is an easy task that can be done by anyone, whether you’re new to gardening or an expert. Follow this easy guide to learn exactly how to plant bulbs in pots.

How to Plant Bulbs in Pots

The process of planting bulbs in pots is easy and can be done by anyone! Planting your spring bulbs in autumn will give your garden a real boost once the season begins.

Step 1 – Add your Compost

Find a container that has holes at the bottom. This will help with drainage when you water your plants, avoiding waterlogged soil. Soggy soil can actually damage your bulbs, stopping them from growing, so good drainage is important. You can even add things to the bottom of the pot to add extra drainage, like a broken up terracotta pot.

Fill your container midway with compost. Every plant will have different needs, but many will need to be planted around twice its depth. That’s why it’s important to leave plenty of space for them to grow.


Step 2 – Lay out your bulbs

Pop each bulb on top of the soil layer, with the pointy end facing upwards. Allow each one a bulb’s distance apart, cover with soil, and pat down gently.

This is the perfect way to plant a single layer of bulbs within a pot. However, there are other ways to create a container display that lasts throughout the entire season!

How to Create a Bulb Lasagne

A bulb lasagne is an easy way to showcase your favourite bulbs all in one pot. Each layer will bloom at a different time of the season, allowing you a colourful display for months on end.

To create an effective bulb lasagne, place a layer of early-blooming bulbs at the bottom layer (like snowdrops or crocus) and cover them with soil. On top, place your mid-flowering varieties (such as daffodils) and cover them with another layer of soil. Place your later flowering tulips at the top, and cover with soil again until the compost reaches the top of the pot. Give each layer 3-4 inches of space to allow sufficient growth.

Common Issues and How to Solve Them

Grey squirrels love to dig up bulbs and steal them, ruining your displays. In borders, plant your bulbs in an aquatic basket and cover them with chicken wire. In containers, simply cover the pot with chicken wire. You can remove this wire once the plant emerges from the ground. 

If you’re unsure of how often to water your plants in containers, double-check the information on each variety, as it can differ from plant to plant. However, containers can become quite dry, as the drainage is much better than if you planted your bulbs in the ground. For peace of mind, thoroughly water once a week. If the soil feels dry on the surface and centimetres underneath, then give them more water.

If the season is quite wet, then you won’t need to water them as often, but keep an eye on the soil as the season progresses.

Enjoyed learning how to plant bulbs in pots? Why not try something else?

Gardening for Beginners: How to Plant Bulbs

how to plant bulbs

Bulbs are one of the best ways to grow your favourite seasonal blooms! Their easy to grow nature makes it effortless to produce a gorgeous display throughout each season, perfect for beginners and bulb novices.

In this gardening for beginners guide, you will learn how to plant bulbs, when to plant them, and where you can plant them in the garden for an exciting seasonal show.

Why Should You Choose Bulbs?

planting bulbs in soil

First things first – why bulbs? It’s simple really. Bulbs are both easy to plant and grow, perfect for someone with little gardening experience.

Each bulb holds energy, which provides life to the plant or flower. They’re space efficient, so if you have a garden that’s on the smaller side, you can still achieve a gorgeous display. In fact, you could argue that they’re even easier to grow than seeds, as you can decide exactly where each bulb is planted and plan your displays accordingly.

How to Plant Your Bulbs

As we have already mentioned, bulbs are easy to grow. Most bulbs are planted similarly, making it easier for you to do loads at once.
The only thing that will make the process different is the size of the bulb. The bigger the bulb, the deeper it must be planted.

For flower beds and borders, plant your bulbs at a depth that is three times their height and spaced apart three times their width. For bigger bulbs, if you are unsure then it’s best to plant them deeper than too shallow. Place the bulb with the pointy end facing upwards. Cover with soil once planted and water generously.

To plant in pots, fill midway with compost leaving enough room to plant your bulbs at the right depth. Pop each bulb on top of the compost, spacing them apart evenly. Cover with soil towards the top of the pot and water well.

When’s the Best Time to Plant Your Bulbs?

planted bulbs in pots

This will depend on the type of flower you’re wanting to plant. However, a lot of bulbs should be planted in early to late Autumn, which is a common planting season for early spring and early summer blooms.

  • Early spring bulbs – For plants like snowdrops, hyacinths, and daffodils, plant before the end of September.
  • Hardy summer bulbs – For blooms like alliums and lilies, aim for late September to October.
  • Delicate summer bulbs – For flowers like gladioli, plant in early spring.
  • Autumn bulbs – Plant autumn flowering bulbs like nerines by late summer.

Where Can You Grow Bulbs?

Different bulbs prefer different climates. Hardier bulbs like the sunlight, so it’s best to position them in sunny areas of the garden. Bulbs that prefer shade, like woodland flowers, don’t mind being planted under trees and shadier spots. Make sure you check before planting, as this could damage the chances of growing a healthy and happy plant.

Read More from J Parker’s

Our Top 10 Easy Gardening Secrets

If you’re new to gardening, it might feel like there’s so much to learn and so little time to learn it in. This is completely normal, as there are so many different plants and flowers that require individual attention and care.

We have pulled together a list of 10 secrets you should know before getting started for an easy gardening process.

  1. Perennials require your patience
    Perennial plants are a gardeners bread and butter. However, they can take 2-3 years to grow to their full height and potential. This is completely normal, but something to bear in mind when planning your seasonal displays.

  2. Pick a Season
    Before starting your gardening journey, decide on a specific flowering season before buying plants and flowers. It’s best to learn the basics in one season at a time, rather than trying to master them all at once.

  3. Know Your Hardiness Zone
    Wherever your live, you will have a hardiness zone. This tells you which plants will survive different weather conditions in your area. For example, you might struggle to find winter flowers that thrive in your garden if you often experience particularly harsh weather.

  4. Dead Heading Flowers Promotes Healthy Growth
    If you’re new to gardening, dead heading healthy buds might seem ridiculous, but there is method to the madness. Many flowers will fade before their season has ended, leaving your display feeling sad and dejected. Deadheading your flowers will encourage the bulb to continuously provide new flowers to keep your display looking fresher for longer.

  5. Understand Your Plants Needs
    Specifically, how much sunlight does your plant need? Failure to plan will decrease your plants chance of survival throughout the season. Make sure you know where to grow each plant and how much sunlight it will need to grow properly.

6. Make Your Own Mulch and Compost
Natural compost and mulch will do your plants more good than chemical fertilizers. Going DIY on your plants will also help the environment, reducing your carbon footprint where it matters. Read our blog on how to create a sustainable garden for more information on DIY compost.

7. Spring Flowering Bulbs
By general rule of thumb, plant your hardy spring-flowering bulbs in autumn before the first frosts. Cover with mulch to keep warm and protect against the harsh winter weather.

8. Know Your Soils Quality
If you’ve recently started gardening or have just moved into a new home, you may not know if your soil is plant ready. The best soil is well-drained, filled with natural amendments such as organic compost and manure. It should accept water easily, and only use fertilizer if you know it’s organic.

9. Water Your Plants Correctly
Many online sources might tell you to water your plants regularly, especially throughout summer. However, it’s usually best to give your ground plants a deep watering once a week to make sure the water reaches the root. Regular light watering only dampens the top of the soil and doesn’t actually reach the root.

10. Be In Control of Your Weeds
Weeds are a gardeners worst nightmare. By their nature, they are annoying and stubborn, and it can be easy to grab a toxic weeding solution to get rid of the problem quickly. However, the most effective way to weed your garden is by hand or by hoe. Take your time to ensure the entire weed is out of the ground.

Read More from J Parker’s

The best plants for beginners

This year more and more people are discovering the joys of playing in the dirt. However, it’s not as easy as chucking soil around and calling it a day. The right plants and the right knowledge can be the difference between The Garden Of Eden and a barren wasteland. So we’ve put together the best plants for beginners, as well as our planting 101 tips, to help out the new budding gardeners of the world,

Daffodils

Extremely easy-to-grow bulbs. Daffodils can be planted anywhere, from containers to scattering around lawns. They also naturalise in the garden from blooms year after year. The perfect bulbs to get your kids into gardening!

Sedums

Sedums are amazing, easy to grow perennials. Once planted, they require little care—simply water if they look dry and cut back plants after flowering to maintain their shape.

Lavender

Growing lavender is easy and rewarding. Lavender can be grown in garden beds or in pots. All you need to know to grow lavender successfully is that they needs well-drained soil and full sun. 

Ferns

With beautiful foliage and textures, ferns are easy to grow and require little maintenance. Most ferns thrive in sunny or shady spots making them ideal plants for beginners. Perfect for growing in pots and hanging baskets.

Rhubarb

Looking to grow your own produce? Rhubarb is one of the easiest crops to grow for beginners. All they need is an open, sunny site with moist, but free-draining soil. You can even grow them in pots!


Planting 101:

If you’re knew to gardening, there are a few basics to know when growing plants, such as their likes for different things (water, sunlight, soil type, etc.). Here are a few of the basic ingredients:

Sun ☀

Plants are pretty magical, as they harness energy from the sun and, through photosynthesis, convert that energy into their tissues. Because plants need the sun to grow, many of them, including most fruits and veggies, need a good amount of direct sun during the day.

Have a shadier plot? Research which plants prefer shady conditions if you have less light available. There are many shade-loving varieties, such as ferns, anemones and heucheras.

Water 🌧

Plants rely on there being a good amount of water available nearby to stay healthy. In many places, it may be necessary to water your garden regularly in order to keep plants happy.

Nutrients and soil 🤎

Plants need nutrients, lots of them. We always recommend planting in “fertile” soil — nutrient-rich bounties of growth for new plants. You might need to add nutrients manually if you’re new to gardening. This can easily be done by buying compost from your local garden centres.

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