How Many Flower Bulbs Can I Plant In A Given Size Container Or Pot?

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Good day:)

I'm trying to figure out how many bulbs I can plant in a given size container.

I have tulips , daffodils, hyacynth: some early ,mid and late varieties.

I have some deep planters that are 22" in diameter. How deep should the soil be under the bulbs?

I'll be using a commercial potting soil. I also have some "old" potting soil that is quite light, and dried out and has some dead roots in it, can I mix this in? or discard it?

I see some that have recommended spacing of 6 inches. Doesn't seem like you can plant a large number of bulbs with that spacing in a 22" container. How far from the edge of the pot do you need to place the bulbs?

Placement of potted bulbs: I'm in Zone 6 in KY. Winters are fairly mild with some extended,intermittent cold spells. Do I need to place bulb pots in full sun with a mulch cover? How many inches of mulch?
Or do I need to place containers outdoors in shade of porch roof?

Next fall I'd like to plant bulbs in the ground. Will they grow well under trees? or do they need more sun?

Can you recommend a good commercial powered bulb planter? Thanks, again. Frank T

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Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Frank-In zone 6 October and november is a good time to plant your bulbs. A good rule of thumb is to plant your bulbs 3-4 times as deep as the bulb is wide. A 2 inch bulb would be planted 6-8 inches deep. The width between each bulb would normally be 2-3 times the width of the bulb. I plant larger bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and hyacinths about 6 inches apart and the smaller bulbs like crocuses, muscari and anemones about 3 inches apart. I noted a link to an article that will help you with information on planting bulbs. When planting in pots I will plant bulbs closer than this to the side of the pot as the foliage looks nice growing over the edge of the pot. I have found planting bulbs in containers no different that planting them in the ground. The most important is that your potting soil is well draining. Make sure the pots have drainage holes in the bottom. You want your soil to stay moist but never wet through the winter. To wet a soil can rot the bulb before spring. Setting your pots in the sun or in filtered light during the winter months is fine but you want to move them to full sun in the spring. Most of my bulb plants do well under many of my trees as long as it is not too much shade. Bright filtered light all day or 4 to 6 hours of direct sun light is enough for them to bloom well. You don't have to mulch the top of the soil in the pots as the bulbs will be planted deep enough for winter temperatures. Keeping the soil moist but not wet helps to insulate the bulbs from freezing. If temperatures are abnormally cold you can always move your pots to a more protected area or wrap them with burlap, bubble wrap, or other material for insulation but I don't think you will need to do anything. I never use planter mixes or soils in pots that have been used before to grow other plants. You never know what soil born diseases or pests that could have infested the soil. Build up of chemicals from past watering and fertilization may not be good also for the new plants you are growing.
As far as I know the best powerful bulb planter would be me but I'm too far away from your location to help. There are several hand bulb planting tools that work well but may be fairly slow and tiring with a lot of bulbs to plant. Many nurseries and garden centers carry garden bulb planting drill augers that attach to your Drill motor. Something like these may work well for you. I'm not sure but some of these augers may be marked showing the dept you are drilling to. If not you can mark the auger with paint or tape so that drilling many holes the proper depth is made easier. There are several I noticed on the web also.

Hopefully this has helped.


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Answer #2 · Frank Tomeo's Answer · Great answer, John.

Just one thing. I read that you can plant the larger bulbs at the proper depth, then cover them with soil and add smaller bulbs that can be planted above the taller bulbs. But there was no mention of spacing.

Will the taller bulbs push up through the shallower planted bulbs, and still look OK?

Would a variegated ivy work well with the bulbs in these pots ?)

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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
I have never planted smaller bulbs above others. I would think this would interfere with the lower bulbs growth and could push the shallower bulb to the side or disrupt its growth. If planting different types of bubs, some possibly being planted shallower, I would still plant using some spacing so they can push up and develop without interfering with each others growth. I normally plant those bulb plants that are shorter in height in front of the taller growing bulbs. The Ivy would look nice hanging over the pot and the bulbs should push up through it with no problem as long as it isn't too thick not allowing the foliage to stand upright. Many of my bulbs that are left in the ground year round push up fine through different ground covers I have in the yard. Just a few ivy plants would give you a nice cascading over the pot sides with the bulb plants in the middle. Don't plant too much Ivy as many of them have fairly deep roots and can fill the pot with their root system in a small amount of time. If all the bulbs and ivy are planted at the same time the bulbs I would imagine will be finished blooming by the time the ivy would interfere with their growth.

8 years ago ·
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