Why Grow Bulbs in Containers?

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.

Continues >here<

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?

Daffodils Growing in Pots (March)
Narcissus Growing in Pots (March)
Freesias 12th March 2018
Freesias 12th March 2018

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.

Daffodil Bulbs
Daffodil Bulbs 12/10/2018

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.

Spring Bulbs

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.

Daffodils and Freesias (22nd November 2018)
Daffodils and Freesias (22nd November 2018)


Freesias in Pot 22nd Nov 2018
Freesias in Pot 22nd Nov 2018

Frieshas 22nd Nov 2018

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?




8 thoughts on “Why Grow Bulbs in Containers?

Add yours

  1. That is a good reason to grow cymbidium orchids in pots. I could grow them in rotting tree stumps or in more permanent locations out in the landscape. However, they are not the prettiest plants when not in bloom. In town, most of the homes had those awkward spaces between the homes that were ideal for growing potted plants that are not so great for the landscape all year. When they bloom and are at their best, they can get moved out. They moved back into the side yard when they finish bloom.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Until recently I grew some chillis …. but the hens leaped into the pots and scratched the dirt, damaging some plants and exposing the roots of others. Out they came!

    We grow a few succulents – one species, Zwartkops – does well.
    I grow a few herbs and veggies in pots too.
    Beans, for one, as the hens don’t seem to like them. And also a few potatoes.
    Plectranthus, some ordinary mint, tomatoes, some fuschias in one pot as well as Arums in two large pots on the patio. There’s also a lemon tree ( that has yet to bear fruit) and two types of lavender.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have hens! I’d love some. I was tempted to trade in my raised veg garden for a chicken pen…but person who looks after our house when we go on holiday siad if we get hens don’t ask him to looka after the house 😦

      You grow quite a selection of plants in pots. Hmmm I must see if I can grow my herbs in pots when I revamp the herb patch


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