Depth to plant when transplanting potted bulbs

greenhaven(SW MI z6)April 13, 2008

I didnt get most of my new bulbs in the ground before it froze last fall, so on impulse I bought some potted bulbs. Most of the bulbs are at or near the surface of the soil, nowhere near the "recommended planting depths" of the various bulbs.

My question is this: When I transfer them to my planters, do I plant the bulbs at the same depth as in the pots? Surely I don't want to cover any foliage...

Wait, second question: There is quite a bit of root system on some of the plants. If I leave them in their original pots and just set the pots in the planters will they get rootbound? I geuss I never though of bulbs as have extensive root systems.

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sedum37(Z5 MA)

If the bulbs are tulips, I would just enjoy them and toss them out. In most cases tulips don't reflower again in the garden and this will avoid having foliage cluttering up your garden (just my opinion anyways).

If the bulbs are daffodils (not paperwhites), what I've done is keep the bulbs in the pots until the foliage yellows and browns. While waiting for the foliage to brown, feed with liquid fertilizer and keep outside to get plenty of sun. Once browned, cut the foliage off, remove from the soil, dry out for a day (not in sun) and keep in a cool dark place (such as a basement) in an old onion bag and plant in the fall with your other bulbs.

Lately I've just enjoyed the bulbs I force and even if they are daffodils I just toss them out after enjoying them. After all gardening should be fun shouldn't it?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 3:00PM
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Greenhaven, as Sedum has pointed out, those "forced" greenhouse bulbs wont come to anything in your garden.
Daffodils....might...if given a place AFTER they've been allowed to wither in their pots...but it might take as long 3 years to come to anything.

Yes indeed, you have enjoyed the color from them and now is the good time to be satisfied and throw them on the compost pile. This is a good reminder that next time you have bulbs that should go into the ground in the

put them into the ground in the fall.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 12:02PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)


I am the forever optimist, and have planted Daffs, hyacinths, and little irises (reticulata I believe) that I had purchased in bloom in pots. It took a season or 2, but I have been rewarded so many times with their spring blooms after sulking a season or two. One in particular is a huge yellow daff. It has no knwn name to me, but it is still a favorite.

I have also planted bulbs in the spring that should have been planted in the fall. Most made it just fine after a season or two. I throw little on the compost that might be salvageable.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 12:54PM
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If you are transfering them from a container to a planter (just a larger container?) for seasonal interest, you can plant at the same depth, as their long term viability isn't typically a concern.

If you are planting directly into the garden, plant at an appropriate depth for that bulb. It won't hurt to bury the foliage at all and this is exactly what happens to bulbs as they grow - all that distance between the bulb and the above ground portion is essentially foliage :-)) And there is no reason to wait to plant them. It is becoming more and more common for spring blooming bulbs to be sold as "starts" in early spring, just the same as you would buy veggie starts. These are generally not forced bulbs (unless the flowers appear very prematurely or out of season). Buy, plant and enjoy!! Great for those of us too busy or too forgetful to plant in fall. Even forced bulb can be planted directly out in the garden after you've enjoyed their bloom indoors. There is no advantage to storing them to plant in fall unless you live in a climate that must prechill your bulbs. Be sure to select alocation in maximum sun, with very well draining soil and allow the foliage to ripen and dry naturally before removing.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 2:08PM
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sedum37(Z5 MA)

It is perfectly fine to plant these bulbs (anything but tulips still my opinion) if you don't mind waiting a season or two for them to recover. I only mention it because I've seen relatives that aren't to into gardening planting these bulbs and wondering why they don't flower and what they did wrong and then consider themselves a failure at gardening.

As an aside I've also used the method mentioned by GardenGal48. I only started doing the saving method with the onion bags because of shortened time in the spring to do other chores and wanting to do all my bulb planting the same time (to coordinate the beds).

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 2:55PM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

The daffodils that I forced the year before bloomed in the ground this year. I was impressed that they bounced back so quickly.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 1:54PM
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