Planting Daffodils and Narcissus brings back memories of gardening in the UK and the arrival of Spring. William Wordsworth’s poem captures the moment perfectly.
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden Daffodils;
Beside the Lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Don’t you just love this poem?
So Why do I Grow Bulbs in Containers?
In a nutshell: I like the flexibility.
We have a relatively small garden for the quantity and variety of plants I want to grow, so to save space I plant bulbs in plastic containers then keep them in the nursery area until they are in bud. I then display in glazed or terracotta pots in prime locations to create a splash of colour and point of interest.
And, not only can I choose where and when to display, but if it’s windy and/or we have heavy rain and storms I can move the pots under the terrace for protection.
Why waste valuable growing space in prime areas of the garden while waiting for bulbs to flower, foliage to die off and bulbs to become dormant when growing in pots offers such flexibility?
Once the Daffodils, Narcissus and Freesias flowered in March, I moved the pots out of view back to the nursery and continued to tend the plants until the foliage died off. I then stacked the pots to let the soil dry out during the dormant period. Other years I have lifted the bulbs and stored in boxes. However, due to the high humidity or whatever, this method proved unsuccessful for me as the bulbs rotted.
In October I turned out all the pots into an old bath and sorted through to see if my experiment had worked. Yes! Lots of healthy bulbs and only a few duds.
I then sterilised the containers and planted the bulbs in multi-purpose compost.
Six weeks later the Freesias and one pot of Daffodils were already bursting with life.
Do Bulbs Need Feeding?
I’ve now started to feed the bulbs every week or so with a high potassium liquid feed (tomato feed) to promote good flowering for next year. I will stop the feed once the foliage starts to die off.
I wonder if the freesias will last until this March before flowering?
Buying New Bulbs
After several weeks searching my usual garden centres, shops and markets in the Algarve for new bulbs without much success, I’d almost given up hope when I found some narcissus bulbs imported from Holland in a Drogeria opposite the Aqua Centre in Portimaõ. I am right at the end of the recommended planting season (IX-XII) so fingers crossed they will grow!
That will teach me to buy plants when I see them and quit procrastinating.
While I won’t have a ‘host of golden daffodils in Portugal’, I’ll at least have a few in strategically placed containers to remind me of Spring in England.
What plants do you grow in containers?