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How to fertilize bulbs in pots

Posted by Need2SeeGreen 10 (SoCal) (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 18, 13 at 17:19


I searched but didn't see this covered.

I have a bunch of leftover bulbs which haven't flowered in ages, and I finally got around to separating and replanting them. They are all growing now, 2 inch leaves or so. (Long story, it rained.)

I have dry bulb fertilizer and would like suggestions.

a) it is better to scratch in the fertilizer? These are in small pots and I just put them in a couple weeks ago. Should I dig them up and mix in the fertilizer at root level? Or, just scratch it in? Someone said something about transplant shock, but otoh, other people say the _____? takes a long time to get to the roots? What to do? (The box is in my friend's garage, so I'm not sure what kind, just organic and for bulbs.)

b) how much should I use? The bulbs vary in size and variety but most are small, and in maybe a 5 inch pot. I don't want to burn the little fellers. (Some freesia, some hyacinth, some daff, and soon maybe some tulips.)


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How to fertilize bulbs in pots

Hmm. Organic. Worm casts? Dried blood? Blood and bone? Seaweed meal or alfalfa meal?

If you planted into 'regular' potting mix it probably already has slow-release fertiliser already included. Check the label for something saying - slow release - good for three months (or more). If that's there - you can leave them be.

If there's nothing on the label then you can tip out your little sprouting bulbs, mix the potting media with about a tablespoon of what you want to add - and repot, remembering to water them in to settle them back in the soil.

If you sprinkle your additive on the top to let the rain wash it down through the media - keep it away from the stems and check to see that it hasn't caked on the top like a skin. You'll have to break it so air and water get through.

Worm casts and seaweed meal you could probably mix with water and apply as a liquid manure. About the colour of weak tea, please. And you can repeat every two weeks or so.

When you find the daffodil bulbs leering at you from the bottom of the pots (they will!) then you could add the fertiliser to the fresh mix for potting them on to more luxurious accommodation (bigger pot or bucket).

All of them would be pleased by a dose of commercial tomato food - liquid, for preference, before and after flowering ,but not while in flower. Helps them set their buds for the season ahead.

If your bulbs were hungry last growing year then it is likely they won't have set buds. Just greenery for this year while they make up for lost time. Not 'dud' - just not ready to go.

RE: How to fertilize bulbs in pots


It is one of those boxed mixes, and I don't remember the brand. (I should be able to check soon though.)

I am just afraid of burning them, since I don't really know what it is made of, although I remember the "organic" part. Maybe I will do a little of both. I have many of them in pretty small pots.

And you're right, I'm not expecting blooms for a couple years I suppose. I still don't know what I did wrong the first year, unless I was supposed to chill them ("Cheerfulness"), but they were definitely crowded and not fed enough after that. Fortunately the foliage looks nice too.

Thanks again!

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