bulbs in pots over winter

Johannes-Ulrich Urban johannes-ulrich-urban@t-online.de
Wed, 07 Dec 2011 14:06:00 PST
Hello Carol,

This is a very good method I use EVERY year. I cannot grow bulbs like
tulips, crocus or hyacinths in the open ground as I have a lot of
rodents that will eat them all the time. so I plant them in big pots,
bury the pots lower than the rim and cover the pot hermetically either
with wire mesh or a suitable other material to stop the mice from
entering the pots from above. Then an extra layer of soil to protect
from frost.  In spring I check for growth and when severe frosts are
over I unearth the pots and put them where I want them to flower. I add
long acting fertilizer as well.  Normally I can re-use the same bulbs
for at least one more season, but tulips tend to degenerate very quickly
(I suspect virus) and will not flower any more in the third season.
I am not sure if it is a good idea to unpot the bulbs in full growth in
spring, this may cause root disturbance. Some bulbs may be more
disturbed by this than others. Maybe if this is done at an early stage
of growth this might be less harmful and using a compost that makes good
rootballs that do not fall apart when unpotting may also help.

I do the same with summer growing bulbs like lilies and Gladiolus as
they are prey to rodents as well. But these pots are stored in my cellar
in winter. For lilies I have tried a new method this year (sucessful so
far): here in Germany we can buy cheap big containers made of a solid
but flexible black plastic, They are made for builders to mix concrete
and the like and contain about 100-200 litres. I cut the bottom off, dug
an appropriate hole, covered the bottom of the hole with good quality
wire mesh and sunk the bottomless container with the rim just exposed. I
ensured the mesh fitted tightly to the walls of the sunken container.
Filled up with good compost and planted valuable Lilium. My rodents
usually come from below and so far the lilies are there and have grown
well, needed some extra water in dry spells, but this saves me carrying
yet another big pot...... and the rim is barely visible.


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