I need your help with how to plant bulbs in window boxes

junebugapril(5)October 22, 2013

You guys are so knowledgeable about this stuff, this was the first place I thought to ask how to do this.

I went crazy at the bulb sales and bought a gazillion Narcissus, Tulip, and Crocus bulbs.

I have tried planting bulbs in my window boxes in October, and they don't ever come up in the spring. It's too cold here.

I was so excited that my geraniums overwintered beautifully in my garage last year! So this year I will be brave enough to try planting my bulbs in window boxes and pots and keeping them in the garage until spring.

Can you help me figure out how to do this please? How deep in the containers should I plant? I was thinking to put an inch of soil in, then the big bulbs, then fill with soil to within two inches of the top and press the little bulbs in?

Should I use that potting soil stuff that is basically peat moss and perlite? Or should I use what I call "the good stuff"? It's topsoil, manure and leaf compost all bagged up together.

I live in Chicago.
The window boxes are plastic, 8 inches deep, 30 and 36 inches long.
I also have some 16 inch pots and some bulb pans I would like to pot up.
The garage is attached to the building.
The window boxes get hung on my balcony railings.
The balcony faces south.
I re-plant my window boxes three times a year so I don't need to save the bulbs

Thanks so much for the help!

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beesneeds(zone 6)

I had some luck this spring past with potting up tulips. I got married the first weekend in May, and since the theme was spring flowers, I wanted a bunch of flowers blooming. I went a little nutty with tulips and grape hyacinths with the fall bulb clearance last year.
I just left the bulbs in their packages in an attached room to the house that is usually cool and dark till a couple months before I wanted the blooms, then potted them all up in my solarium and forced them- and they all were blooming on the day.
Afterwards, I planted them in the yard. This fall I'm doing the same thing, getting the bulbs now and then I'll pot and force them before planting them into the yard. Sure made knowing where to plant a lot easier.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 9:26AM
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That's fabulous! I love it. So how did you force them for the wedding? Did you just pot them up and bring them in after six weeks or so?

I have a problem now!!!

I left a lot of bulbs out on the balcony and it rained last night, they all got wet.

I have already potted up a lot of my bulbs, but what should I do with the wet ones? Hang them in the garage to dry???

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 11:53AM
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beesneeds(zone 6)

Well, I know they got well chilled in that cool dark room over the course of winter.
About mid-March I potted them all up using 8 and 10 inch pots. Packed in the tulips well, I think 6-8 per 8 inch pot, 10-12 per 10 inch pot. Only filled the pots halfway with potting soil, then set in the bulbs and barely covered them with soil.
My solarium in general is warmer than the outdoors- it's pretty much a large three seasons porch. I put the pots onto the potting bench I have stretching across the south face of the room, and when they started showing serious leaning, I moved the pots under the skylight.
By the time the first weekend in May hit, the earliest of the tulips was just getting past peak, and the latest of them was just starting to come into bloom.

You can dry out your bulbs in a single layer- like spread out on the kitchen table or something like that. After they are dry, you can store them in a mesh bag in a cool dark place.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 9:42AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

JUST follow the instruction on the package. Each bulb can be different.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 2:53PM
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Bees, thanks for the specific instructions. It sounds like you actually delayed the blooms on yours if you are in Zone 5/6!

I may try pulling a couple of pots in from the garage in February to get some blooms inside.

What a great idea.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 3:05PM
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