Crocus in pots outdoors

Asked November 8, 2017, 3:16 PM EST

Can crocus bulbs be planted in pots outdoors? The article on spring flowering bulbs does not address this. thanks!

Ramsey County Minnesota crocus horticulture

3 Responses

No. And the reason our publication doesn't mention this is that crocuses planted this way will not survive. Above ground pots are not protected from extreme temperatures as are plants planted in the ground. The soil in your pots (and the bulbs you plant there) will get far colder than the crocus bulbs can withstand.

Thanks for your reply. If I don't get around to planting them in the ground, which alternative is best?:
1. Leave them in the frig and pot them up in April
or 2. Pot them up now, leave pot in garage which doesn't freeze, but does get down to 35, then put outside in April or May?
Thanks
Karen

Option 1 probably won't work because the bulbs will spend their energy in the spring making roots, not flowers. Option 2 is similar to forcing bulbs (see below), but don't expect the bulbs to survive past one season.

You could also put them in the ground now. Of course, they probably won't have time to establish roots, so may not flower much next spring.

Finally, you could pot them and force them to bloom indoors in late winter. This requires some work (a cold treatment, mimicking autumn), but is probably your best chance to get something out of these bulbs. But once that is done, toss the spent bulbs - they'll not bloom again. Read here about forcing bulbs:
https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/houseplants/forcing-bulbs-for-indoor-beauty-in-wint...