Planting Bulbs in Non-Draining Pot

gardennewbie_09April 8, 2009

Dear Forum,

I'm new at gardening and hope someone can help me out here. We purchased a new place and the previous owner built a water fountain in the back yard. Fountain is about 4 feet diameter, 3 feet deep. We're looking to convert the water fountain into a flower bed because energy is expensive in CA and we can't have standing water due to mosquito issues. The fountain is similar to a huge pot and has NO drainage at all.

I'm wondering if it's ok to plant bulbs in a non-draining fountain. If so, what kind of soil should I use?

Thanks in advance,

gardennewbie_09

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bubba62

Most true bulbs really need to have some drainage, and almost all will die outright if planted in the conditions you describe. There are a few things, however, that will do well without drainage, especially given your climate. You don't mention whether you have full sun, part sun, or some degree of shade - most true bog plants want as much sun as they can get. You can use any soil that's got some organic content to it. Here's a partial list of things (not all are considered bulbs) that should do well in your mud pit...

Cannas
Crinum americanum, asiaticum, and oliganthemum
Hymenocallis 'Tropical Giant' and other evergreen variaties
Sarracenias
Pickerel weed
Alocasias
Colocasias, including 'Black Magic', 'Antiquorum illustris', fallax, and many others
Zephyranthes candida
Cyperus (papyrus)
Sauraurus cernuus (can be very invasive)
Many iris, including the Louisiana species and hybrids, along with I. pseudacorus (also invasive)
Thalia

Coleus and impatiens(which may be perennial for you) will also do surprisingly well with little or no drainage, as long as it's warm. In general, warm and wet is okay for lots of things, but cool and wet is a recipe for disaster.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 4:04AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

I agree, most true bulbs would not do well, but would just likely rot without proper drainage.

I'm not familiar with some of the things bubba mentioned, but imagine they would do quite well.

You might check out the Bog Gardens Forum. It does not look too active, but I imagine in reading a bit there, you will likely get some other great ideas for your non draining fountain.

Sue

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 11:30AM
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jeannie7

Why not use a number of containers fitted into the fountain well--forget what used to be a fountain---and use it as a means to exhibit the plants you have.
Of course, the containers should drain and what water lies in the well of the fountain has to be got rid of---we don't want mosquitoes to put their larvae in such standing water.
A few drops of vegetable oil will often defeat them...but its best still to get rid of the water.

Its a shame though to have a fountain that works and not use it as it was designed to do....they're great for making slumber more palatible....

Turn off the TV---unseat yourself from the computer, eat at home instead of going out....save that electricity and go out some night and sit by your bubbling fountain.
Its California.....you're expected to enjoy the great outdoors...don't pass up what can be a marvellous sound to live by.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 5:36PM
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