Finding just the right container for your garden can be as exciting as finding the perfect new car! After all, you want something that says “style” and fits into your landscape design. If you’re not up to designing a container yourself, don’t worry; with an abundance of commercial pots and planters available today, it’s easy to find something that will complement your home’s exterior. The trick is choosing the right pot for the job.
Part of the appeal of spring flower bulbs is their versatility, but before you decide which bulb to plant, it’s important to choose a container that will enhance both the appearance and performance of your flowerpot display. Here are some pointers on choosing the right pot for the job:
Pot size is important, especially when it comes to spring-flowering bulbs. Although you want your container to fit in with the overall look of your home and landscape design, choosing a pot that’s too small can limit your display options. You also need to give each bulb enough room to grow and bloom. If you’re purchasing a new container, it’s a good idea to pick a pot that is at least two inches wider than the width of your bulb clumps. You can always fill in gaps with annuals or low-growing groundcovers if needed, but building a solid foundation from the beginning is much easier.
Bulbs in Containers: Potting Soil Matters, Too!
The right potting mix is also crucial to the success of your bulb planting. Bulbs need a well-draining mix that will retain moisture and nutrients for healthy root development. You can save money by mixing up your own potting soil from composted organic material, but if you’re just looking to give your bulbs a quick boost, it’s easier and faster to buy a premade mix.
You can find a wide variety of potting soils at your local garden center or home improvement store; many contain peat moss as the main ingredient, which is great for loose soil mixes. But if you’re looking for a soil that provides better drainage, try adding in ingredients like perlite (a white, lightweight volcanic rock) or coarse ground bark.
But be careful; not all bark products are the same. Composted bark holds moisture well and has good aeration qualities, but you’ll want to make sure it’s not “sticky bark.” Sticky bark combines composted bark with other organic materials like shredded sawdust, making it less porous and more water retentive. Avoid this type of bark if you’re working with spring-flowering bulbs because the sticky substance will hold onto moisture around your bulbs, which can cause rot or fungus problems.
A Better Bulb
In the plant world, as with other things in life, better results require a little effort. When selecting a bulb for planting in containers, look for a smaller variety that requires less growing space and has a shorter bloom time to balance out your design.