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?

Where to plant fragrant flowers

Fragrant flowers are best suited to the most optimal placement for the full garden experience. All flowers are beautiful, but not all of them have a strong enough fragrance that can transform your garden from not just looking gorgeous, but smelling gorgeous too!

Fragrant walkways

Walkways are a great place to plant your fragrant flowers. Their position on the ground lining the walkway will allow the breeze to gently lift the scent from the flowers. It will fill the air as you follow the path, leaving a beautiful scent in the air . A great plant to make your walkways fragrant is Lavender. With tall stems it will not only make your walkway more defined but the foliage will add some density to your garden. When all the stems come together they will fill the air with the sweet fragrance.

Aromatic hanging baskets

Hanging baskets are a great feature for any garden. They can help turn your uneventful walls into something beautiful! As they’re positioned above the ground the fragrance from the baskets will immediately fill the surrounding area with the scent, making each breath that little bit more sweeter. A favourite for hanging baskets is Petunia Tumbelina Priscilla, a highly scented plant with long trails. Our double flowering variety, blooms in abundance throughout the summer months ensuring that your garden stays fragrant for longer.

Scented statement piece

The cherry on top of your beautifully scented garden: a statement piece. The biggest and most beautiful of the bunch, a statement piece in the garden is sure to grab all of the attention. Which is why choosing the right plant is important! Wherever this plant is positioned it will have people coming back for more of its sweet scent. The plant Dianthus Doris seems to be made for this spot. Ideal for pots and containers, Dianthus Doris produces a beautiful pink bloom which continues to flower from June right up to October. It is sure to provide colour in your garden for many months each year.

Great smelling flowers only add to the fun of gardening. It’s nice to have flowers that look good. But when you have flowers that also smell good it creates a whole new atmosphere in your garden. Whether you’re weeding, watering or just admiring your hard work, you’ll be able to take a deep breath and smell what you have successfully cultivated.

Check out some of our other blogs:

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

What to Plant in November

November Garden

Knowing exactly what to plant in November can be a bit of a grey area, especially for those who are new to the hobby. However, this month is a critical time for gardeners.

From spring-flowering bulbs to bare-root plants, there’s plenty to be getting in the ground throughout November. Read our guide to help you form your to-do list this month.

Daffodils

A spring classic: the wholesome daffodil is a necessity for your spring gardens next year. Our daffodil range is huge, perfect for those looking for more than your average daffodil variety. Add to your beds, borders, or even containers for an impressive display throughout the month, or to be used as cut flowers for your spring arrangements!

Double Flowering Daffodil Collection
Double Flowering Daffodil Collection
Narcissi dwarf mix
Narcissi Dwarf Mix

Tulips

Tulips come in all shapes and sizes, and our tulip range is truly unmatched. From Darwin Hybrids to Viridiflora species, we’ve got a variety that will suit everyone’s different tastes. When it comes down to what to plant in November, tulips are essential spring and summer flowering bulbs to be getting in the ground.

Single early tulip mix
Single Early Tulips Mix
viridiflora collection
Tulip Viridiflora Collection

Bare Root Roses

Start to get your bare root rose plants into the ground starting from November. Bare root roses can be planted from now till March, so you have plenty of time to get these bad boys planted and ready to go for summer and autumn.

rose collection
Award Winning Rose Collection
climbing rose collection
Climbing Rose Collection

Pansies

Pansies are a British favourite, and this spring should be no exception. November is almost a last call for getting your pansies into your beds and borders, ready to appear through winter and spring. Explore our full range of pansies, both maxi plugs and garden ready, today.

Pansy Can Can garden ready variety
Pansy Can Can
pansy super winter/spring mix in maxi plug format
Pansy Super Winter/Spring Mix

Now that you know what to plant in November, read some of our other handy guides!

What to Plant In October

As the cold weather is finally upon us, you might be wondering what to plant in October. Gardeners across the UK are probably getting their gloves on as we speak!

The end of September marked the start of bulb planting season, and this continues throughout October. However, if you’re new to gardening and are unsure of where to start this month, this blog is for you.

From bulbs to shrubs, there’s plenty to be getting on with this coming month.

Tulips

Our tulip range is truly extensive. There’s definitely a tulip variety for everyone to choose from, regardless of garden themes or personal taste. Offering a bountiful pop of colour to your beds, borders, and patio pots, the reliable tulip is a must-have for any spring garden display.

Tulip Showcase
Tulip Diana

Snowdrops

Achieve a whimsical woodland effect with our snowdrop range. These little bells of pure white remind many of spring forest walks. The perfect height for adding to the front of your bedding, as well as being incredible naturalisers. See these beauties reappear year after year throughout the spring months.

Double Flowering Snowdrops
Giant Flowering Snowdrops

Iris

If you’re still unsure of what to plant in October, the Iris is truly something to behold. Available in a myriad of colours and heights, the iris is the perfect spring bulb. Add interest to your borders and patio pots with our spring-flowering irises.

Iris Spring Flowering Collection
Iris reticulata Blue Planet

Daffodils

One of our more popular spring-time bulbs is the humble daffodil. No spring garden would be complete without some of these beauties. Dot around your garden for sporadic pops of colour, or cut in spring for beautiful cut flower displays.

Daffodil Apotheose
Daffodil Cassata

A Guide to the Best Begonias

Begonias are a fantastic summer plant to grow, and very rewarding. In the British climate they will flower abundantly from June right through to October. As such versatile plants they look fabulous in pots or containers on the patio, or equally as beautiful in a flower bed. At J. Parker’s we have a huge range of Begonias to add colour to your garden. Take a look below where we have compiled a few of our favourites from each variety.

Our Begonia Top Picks

DOUBLE BEGONIAS:

Double Exhibition Orange

This Exhibition Begonia has a stunningly large, zesty orange flower which is sure to add “wow” factor to beds and patio containers. The double blooms can reach a huge 15cm in diameter.

Click here to view online.

Double Exhibition White

Our White Double also reaches a giant 15cm in diameter. Its pure white petals look angelic against the fresh green foliage, and is great to mix with a brighter colour for an eye-catching display.

Click here to view online.

CASCADING BEGONIAS:

Cascading Pink

These pretty pink Cascading Begonias are a lovely addition to hanging baskets, where they will delicately trail over. A favourite of gardeners, the frilled flowers will be in bloom all summer long.

Click here to view online.

Cascading Yellow

Our yellow Cascading Begonias add vibrancy to your summer garden. They look beautiful as they spill over hanging baskets and their colourful blooms last all summer long.

Click here to view online.

FANCY FRILLS BEGONIAS (FIMBRIATA):

Fancy Frills Red

This Begonia produces luxurious large double blooms with crimped edges, in a beautiful deep crimson colour. Sat upon crisp green foliage it really is a wonderful sight.

Click here to view online.

Fancy Frills White

Our pure white Fimbriata Begonia resembles a double carnation in appearance, with its ruffled petals and serrated edges. This flower is ideal for pots, containers, and borders alike.

Click here to view online.

MIGHTY MINI BEGONIAS (SUPERBA):

Mighty Mini Superba Orange

The salmon-orange petals of this Superba Begonia add zing to borders and patio pots. These giant flowers look wonderful in the garden or make equally as beautiful cut flowers. Flower from June to October.

Click here to view online.

Mighty Mini Superba Yellow

Our Superba Yellow Begonia has giant flowers with exquisite yellow ruffled petals. Blooming all summer, from June to October, it’s sure to add delight to borders and patios.

Click here to view online.

NON STOP BEGONIAS:

Non Stop Pink

Non Stop Begonias produce fantastically vibrant flowers, and our Pink variety contrasts beautifully against its green foliage. Flowers from June right through to October.

Click here to view online.

Non Stop Salmon

Our Salmon Non Stop Begonia has bright and lively orange coloured petals which blooms virtually non-stop throughout the summer months. They are a lovely addition to pots, bedding and window boxes.

Click here to view online.

How to Grow Begonias

TUBEROUS BEGONIAS:

  • Tubers may be started into growth from February onwards. The easiest way is to put them into shallow boxes containing a mixture of loam, leaf mould and sand.
  • They should be started in shallow boxes in light soil; the saucer-like tubers should be planted very shallow with the hollow side up.
  • As soon as any danger of frost has passed they can be transferred to their position in the garden, at least 30cm apart.
  • Begonias are great lovers of moisture and during dry weather they should be water in the early morning or in the evening.

Our Spring 2020 range is out NOW! To shop our lovely collection of Spring plants and bulbs, click here.

Alternatively, you can request our Spring 2020 catalogue here.

Must-Have Flowers for 2020

Get Ahead: Plan your Summer Bulb Displays Now

With the new year approaching we can look forward to warmer weather and new growth appearing in our gardens, and now is the perfect time to be thinking of your summer display. Summer-flowering bulbs add an injection of colour to any garden and make for eye-catching borders and displays. Whilst often planted out in spring, many bulbs are suited to being planted as early as February. Be one step ahead and take inspiration from our selection below of Must-Have Flowers for 2020!

Summer Flower Top-Picks:

Lilies

Lilies add a touch of the exotic to the garden, and their large, brightly coloured heads are bound to attract the eye. These flowers are a striking addition to pots and borders and provide a beautiful scent. Planting time is December to April.

Lily Mona Lisa

This Dwarf Oriental Lily is a must for fronts of garden borders, or perfect in a patio pot or container. With a wonderful fragrance, these lilies would also make a lovely cut flower arrangement.

Click here to view online.

 

Lily Red Twin

Our Double Flowering Asiatic Lily produces an abundance of vibrant deep red-orange flowers, and is sure to liven up any display or border.

Click here to view online.

 

Lily Butter Pixie

The bright zesty petals of this Dwarf Asiatic Lily contrast splendidly with its glossy dark leaves, and is a refreshing addition to front of border displays.

Click here to view online.

 

Begonia

Begonias are extremely popular for their versatility and reliability. From hanging baskets and window boxes to borders and pots, these colourful favourites are a  centerpiece in the garden. Planting time is from February onwards.

Begonia Richard GaLLE

Begonia Multiflora Richard Galle produces clusters of apricot-orange flowers with hints of yellow. They have a fantastic flowering period from June right through to October.

Click here to view online.

 

Begonia Double Pink

Our Begonia Double Pink has spectacularly large bright pink blooms which can reach a diameter of 15cm. The tubers can be lifted, stored, and replanted the following year making them great value.

Click here to view online.

Begonia Fancy Frills Yellow 

Begonia Fancy Frills is a sunshine yellow Fimbriata Begonia with bright ruffled petals. This flower is sure to bring sun to any garden.

Click here to view online.

Gladioli

Gladioli are a classic flower which have added excitement to summer displays for generations. Available in an array of bright and bold colours, they are often referred to as the ‘sword lily’ for their blade-shaped foliage. Planting time is early March to May.

Gladioli Video

The Gladioli Video yields elegant lavender-pink petals from tall flower spikes, reaching a mature height of 90cm. Perfect for adding height to borders.

Click here to view online.

 

 

Gladioli Cha Cha

Our Gladioli Cha Cha has beautiful butter yellow flowers which are sure to brighten up any border or summer display.

Click here to view online.

 

 

 

Gladioli Espresso

The Gladioli Espresso produces striking velvety-red flowers with contrasting white stamens. This large, vibrant flower will bring excitement to any garden this summer.

Click here to view online.

Eucomis

Eucomis descend from South Africa and have an unusual pineapple shape. Their long-lasting flowers and attractive foliage are an exotic feature point of borders, pots and flowerbeds. Planting time is from February, if into pots and containers.

Eucomis Sparkling Rosy

The Eucomis Sparkling Rosy gives deep maroon flowers in summer and follows with delicate pale pink star-shaped flowers, nestled between glossy green foliage.

Click here to view online.

 

 

 

Eucomis Bicolour

This Eucomis Bicolour most lives up to the name of ‘pineapple lily, as it’s flowers bear a striking resemblance to the fruit. It’s petals are pale green an edged with maroon.

Click here to view online.

 

 

Eucomis Autmnalis Alba

Our Eucomis Autumnalis Alba produces white flower spikes with a bright green tuft, atop broad, wavy edged leaves.

Click here to view online.

 

 

Bulb Planting: A Guide

The general rule for planting bulbs is to dig deeper than the obvious. The usual guide is two to three times the depth of the bulb itself, however you will do less harm by planting too deep than too shallow. The other general rule is that bulbs need good drainage. The best way to achieve this is to mix grit into the general area or container of planting.

Many summer bulbs are ideal for growing in patio containers, especially tender species. These can then be lifted in winter and stored.

Step by Step:

Planting in borders:

  • Dig a hole wide and deep enough for your bulbs. Most bulbs require planting in a hole two to three times their depth.
  • Place the bulbs in the hole with their shoot facing upwards. Space them at least twice the bulb’s own width apart.
  • Replace the soil and gently firm. Avoid treading on the soil as this can damage the bulbs.

Planting in containers:

  • Dig a hole three times the bub depth, and plant the bulbs one width apart.
  • Water bulbs once after planting then regularly when in active growth. Reduce watering once the leaves die down through the dormant season.
  • If you bring pots of hardy bulbs indoors for flowering, put them in a sheltered spot outside as soon as flowering is over.

Looking for more information on planting our bulbs? Below you can find a selection of videos from our resident plant expert Jeff Turner explaining how best to plant your Summer Bulbs.

How to Plant Eucomis (Pineapple Lily): Summer Garden Guide
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