Hi, a couple questions about planting tulip bulbs : can they be put in a pot ? If so, when should I plant them ? Lastly , how do I keep them safe during the winter? Thank you you so much.
Multnomah County Oregon
Tulips do very well in pots. A pot full of colorful tulips will add beauty to your spring - and it's easy to do. Unless your tulip bulbs have been pre-chilled, they need a cold period (45-50°F) for 12-16 weeks, so pots need to be planted now.
Pots can be of any size or material as long as it is at least 8.5 inches across the top, and has adequate drainage holes. The larger the pot, the more tulips you can plant, and the more impact the pot will have. With deeper pots you can layer tulips for a longer period of time with flowers. You can also get creative and add other plants, like pansies or violas on top.
Potting soil needs to be very well draining. Good quality potting soil with added perlite or vermiculite works well. Cover the drainage holes very loosely with broken pieces of pot to hold the soil in while allowing excess water to drain. Add your potting soil to about 4 inches, smooth, then set in the bulbs. The bulbs can be crowded but should not be touching so if one bulb has any rot it doesn't spread to the others. Tulip bulbs looks like Hershey's kisses. The bulbs need to be planted with the flat side down and the tip on top. Cover the bulbs up an inch above the tops, fertilize with an organic bulb food and water well.
You can store the pots outdoors to get the needed cold period. It's a good idea to put them in a trench with lots of mulch, compost or straw around and on top of the pots to insulate them from freezing. Pots can break if it freezes. You can also move them into an unheated garage, in times of cold snaps.
Once the bulbs have been primed by the cold period you can bring them inside and "force" them. Bring them into temperatures of 60-70°, in a sunny window that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. In 1-3 weeks you should see new growth, followed by tulip flowers.
The pots outside will bloom on their own when daytime temperatures warm to 60-70°, although that is dependent on the type of tulip (early, mid, late season).This article gives step-by-step instructions with pictures at each step, How to Plant Tulip Bulbs in Pots https://www.wikihow.com/Grow-Tulips-in-Pots. This video demonstrates planting tulip bulbs in pots, How to Plant Tulip Bulbs in Pots https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LM5VQENr1ZA