Adding bulbs to your landscape is a lovely way to add color to your garden in the Spring. Daffodils naturalize in the Carolinas, as do crocus, iris and many smaller bulbs. Some tulips and hyacinths need to be replaced every year or two, but they put on a lovely show in the Spring. A wide variety of bulbs can be purchased now from catalogs or websites for your garden, and packages of bulbs will start being available in the Fall at many local garden centers.
If you are looking for a way to enjoy bulbs in your garden without planting large drifts of bulbs, choose two or three planters that are at least 12" wide and deep to plant your bulbs in. Place the planters where they will receive sunlight and rain, preferably in a spot that you can see from inside your home.
I've listed several varieties that grow well in containers, and some can be moved to your yard after the bulbs become dormant next summer. In my next article, I'll show you step by step instruction for planting your spring bulb planter.
Miniature iris and other small bulbs grow well in a container garden and can naturalize either in the container or your garden. Miniature Dutch Iris are only about 5" tall and appear around late February, depending on how cold of a winter we have. Their deep blue flowers are a welcome sight after a cold winter.
Daffodils are a familiar sight in the Charlotte area in spring. They naturalize quickly and spread, increasing their show of lovely yellow, white and coral in the early Spring. These flowers will not only do well in a container, but can be transplanted into your garden or natural areas for years of beauty.
Few Spring bulbs are as showy or easy to grow as tulips. Plant a few bulbs in quality soil with some bulb fertilizer, place the planter where it will receive sun and water over the Winter and Spring, and enjoy a lovely show of bulbs in the mid to late Spring. You may need to water them once they start growing if the Spring is dry. If the Spring has turned very hot and dry, move the container to partial shade to extend the life of the flower.
Hyacinth are another bulb that is easy to grow in containers, and the fragrance of the flower is amazing. Hyacinths bloom later in Spring than many other bulbs. If the Spring has turned hot and dry, move the container to a partially shaded area and water as needed to extend the life of the flower.
One way to extend the life of the planter of bulbs is to plant pansies or violas in the planter in the Fall. The flowers will bloom until frost, then start flowering again in the Spring before the bulbs start to bloom. Unless the Spring is very hot and dry, the pansies and violas will continue to bloom into late spring. When Summer comes, remove the pansies and spent leaves of the bulbs and plant a summer annual mix.