Time Again To Pot Up The Tulips
Yesterday I potted up 160 Tulip bulbs in 8 containers. This is 2/3 of the total, so not too bad. There’s 80 Tulips and 4 containers left to go.
One thing that made the work go a bit faster is that I now have a little potting bench, which I’ve tucked behind aHydrangea along the side of the garage. Now I can do most of the work standing up, which is good news for my back.
As I’ve written every year, I don’t do anything fancy with my container Tulips. I empty out the container, then replace the potting mix to the level where I want to plant the tulips. The bulbs should sit at least 8″ below the surface of the mix. Also, the mix gets refreshed with a couple of generous handfuls of compost.
This year I’m cramming in the bulbs a little tighter – 20 bulbs per container, as I indicated above. Most years I mix varieties, but this year it’s just one variety per pot. The plan was to order 200 bulbs, but I ended up with 240. That’s because ‘Suncatcher’ was sold out at John Scheeper’s, so I ordered ‘Annie Schilder’ instead, but then I found ‘Suncatcher’ at Brent and Becky’s (thanks to a reader of this blog), but I forgot to cancel the ‘Annie Schilder’. Anyway, it’s all good.
Putting one variety per pot means a more dazzling but shorter period of bloom. However, an advantage of Tulips in pots is that you can always move the best-looking containers to pride of place.
Another new practice I’ve adopted is labeling the pots, utilizing masking tape and an indelible pen. I’m assuming I can position the pots so that the labels are not visible.
After I was done for the day I squirrel-proofed the containers with chicken wire, securing it with leftover pavers. Some time in November or December I’ll move these containers into the garage. The biggest thing with overwintering is to not let the containers get too wet or too dry – too wet being the more likely problem if they are left outside.
I tried to save as many Tulips as I could for replanting, along with the Crocuses I included last year (an unsuccessful experiment which I didn’t repeat). However, most of the Tulips bulbs had rotted over the summer. Those that survived generally had split into at least 2 or 3 smaller bulbs.
Tulips like a hot dry summer, but a pot planted with annuals needs to be kept fairly moist. So if you want to save container Tulips for future seasons the time to remove them from the pot is in late spring or early summer, right after the foliage has ripened – and before you make your planting of summer annuals.
The Tulip varieties I’ve potted up so far are ‘Suncatcher’, ‘Princess Irene’, ‘Coleur Cardinal’, and ‘Ballerina’. I still have to get to ‘Fostery King’ and ‘Annie Schilder’.
Are you planting any Tulips this fall?