What bulbs can I put in with a house plant

edlincoln(6A)October 28, 2013

I have some surplus bulbs I got on sale (Windflower, Daffodil, Iris, crocus) and some plants I planted in too large a pot. What bulbs can I plant in the pot and have them bloom without freezing them or something first? Any of the preceding?

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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

I'm afraid that your idea of putting any of those bulbs in with a house plant, although it sounds pretty won't work. The bulbs you have all need a cold period to grow successfully (NOT freezing) which would not agree with the houseplants. Unless they have been 'prepared' ie given a cold treatment they will not work well indoors at all. You'd do better to tuck them into some spots outdoors.

If you do get some prepared bulbs you'd need to grow them in separate pots and then put the pots and house-plants into a cache pot or other container together at the last minute just before they flower.

Paper whites do not need a cold period and they might work using your method.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 5:29AM
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Daffodils will do well without any chilling, but not in a low light houseplant combination. Al

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 10:11AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

SOME daffodils will do well without chilling.

Here is a link that might be useful: FAQ 1

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 11:43AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

You might investigate Oxalis, Amaryllis, Lycoris, Zephyranthes, Freesia, Chrysothemis, Ledebouria, Gladiolus, Clivia, Crocosmia, Cucurma, Heliconia, Caladium... not sure all of these would work for you in the conditions you have to offer, but they are tropical entities, some are more common in pots than others (because of the conditions some might require.) Some would need more light, some more shade. Do you put plants outside for summer? That might make a big difference in what I would select. A good question to ask would be, what plants do you want to add bulbs to?

Glasshouse Works has an amazing list of tropical bulbs for growing in pots.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 10:54AM
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I was going to add some smaller bulbs to big pots housing Amaryllis, PaperWhites, or large leafy house plants like Jade plants, or Ficus. Mostly for winter color...they would end up on a glassed in porch in the Spring if they survived. Gladiolis is a good idea...I purchased a bunch on sale last year but discovered they are annuals here...I may have some extra lying around, or the same place might have a sale again. Will also attempt with my extra Daffodil bulbs...nothing to lose. My Mom actually found my extra Daffodil bulbs (which I brought to her house in an attempt to illicitly plant them their) and started attempting to force them without my knowledge.

I try to plant these outside, but I have more free time at night then during the day. Indoor potting project can be done at night or in inclement weather.

This post was edited by edlincoln on Fri, Nov 1, 13 at 14:11

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 11:28AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I'm still not clear if you're wanting temporary, seasonal entertainment from the bulbs, or trying to naturalize them more permanently in the pots of other plants. I don't think enough info has been given about what kind of light the pots will have for summer has been made clear enough to make specific per-pot suggestions. If the former though, it's common for several types of bulbs to be sold in pots or even boxes, 'ready to bloom' through the winter, such as Amaryllis & many of the temperate bulbs.

Temperate bulbs that require a chill would not be suitable for naturalizing with tropical plants, for example, but could flower once in them. For further flowers after that, they would need to go back outside, or be manually chilled.

Tropical bulbs growing with other plants would mostly bloom during the summer/late fall, or arbitrarily/periodically whenever they feel like it. The advantage to keeping them in a group pot would be reduced risk of rot at times when they go dormant.

Many people save tropical bulbs in a dormant state, in a cool dry place, though potting them with house plants can eliminate that step in some instances. Gladiolus, for example, can be kept indefinitely in cooler climates by pulling up the bulbs after frost, replanting in the spring.

For the mentioned goal of winter color, Caladiums might be enjoyable. The color comes from the leaves, so no concern about if/when it might make a flower. Similarly, there are many other house plants with leaves so pretty and colorful, at a glance, people will say, "I love your flowers!" Most of these would not have the concern of possibly occasionally going dormant like bulb plants. I have the same strategy for annuals. Why concentrate on just flowers if there are also leaves just as pretty, colorful, and nowhere near as fussy or seasonal?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 12:13PM
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This is kind of a whimsical afterthought for surplus bulbs. If I get one bloom out of them I'll be happy. I'm thinking of potting them with other house plants because it can be a hassle to water too many plants. Pots that seem empty or plants that seem dead can be forgotten or thrown away. Bulbs in pots with other "foliage" plants will get watered when the foliage plant does. Plus it would be amusing to see a daffodil blooming beneath a Jade plant.

As far as lighting conditions, that gets complicated. I'm thinking of three possible locations. Some could be planted with Amaryllis or Ficus in a an extremely hot, dry, dimly lit room. Alternatively, they could be planted with Jade plants or hibiscus in a glassed in porch with oodles of light that never quite gets below freezing, but suffers extreme temperature swings from very hot to cold enough to chill soda.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 2:22PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Yes, I think you're on the right track with avoiding overwatering/neglect by companionizing them. If they are ready to bloom when planted, 'proper' light would not matter.

I agree about the novelty of seeing the blooms in unexpected places, hope it goes well! If the ones you use are hardy where you are, even if surplus, they can go in the ground when you get around to it next spring/summer/fall. As long as they haven't rotted, they'll eventually adjust back to a normal routine. People usually do that in a lone pot, but I agree with you, it would be more interesting with other plants, definitely use less space.

Bulbs are awesomely durable plants to a wide range of 'abuse.' When drought caused our grass to go dormant 2 summers ago, I noticed some 'still green stuff' that turned out to be foliage from Gladiolus and Lycoris radiata bulbs. They had been getting mowed for many years but I dug up as many as I could find and put them in flower beds. Some have been able to bloom this year.

There's an Amaryllis here I finally moved after watching it come through a hole in the skirting at the edge of the house for about 5 years. Not sure how it was able to get much moisture being a foot away from the edge of the roof, or how long it was there before I moved here. Within a year, it was so happy about its' new spot, more sun/water, it made 2 pups, which then bloomed this year and are now making more pups.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 4:26PM
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I was planning on doing this with surplus bulbs, but I may actually buy some gladiolus for this idea.

purpleinopp: On the subject of plants growing in unexpected places...I recently discovered my parent's Rose of Sharon had produced a bunch of babies...growing in between an evergreen hedge and the house. Out of a kind of bricked area that mulch had spilled out over. I can't imagine they got much sunlight. Didn't even think of the edge of the roof issue.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 7:19PM
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rigelcaj(z5 VT)

I know that crocus can work without a lot of light or care, because I had one mysteriously grow - and bloom! - in a big potted wax hoya. I have no idea how it got there, but it was a lot of fun. I also threw some pansy seeds in there, with some success. I don't know how much the temp had to do with it: the room the hoya is in stays mostly at 55 during the winter. It gets partial sun. good luck!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 9:29AM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

Your glassed in porch with the temperature swings sounds like the best bet for the spring bulbs you've mentioned.

Your main challenge is around watering: these bulbs grow over winter. They need regular watering, though be cautious about over-watering the windflowers/Anemones if they have yet to start into root/leaf growth. Their corms tend to turn into a sort of chewing gum if they get more water than they can handle.

Tropical plants, including Amaryllis and Hippeastrum, take a rest over winter - even in mild zones such as mine - and they will resent to dying if you over-water the invader bulbs in their pots. I'd keep the bulbs separate from the house plants in terms of pot-sharing. I'd say it was a marginal venture with a strong likelihood of loss for both plant types.

I'm guessing you can moderate the temperatures in the porch with shades or fleece.

The main problem with the temperature swing will be that the spring bulbs will last in flower for a much shorter time if the temps are too high during the day. I know if i get a heat flush then my 'fields of golden daffodils' are very quick to finish.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 8:32PM
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