If you love the idea of having pots brimming with daffodils or tulips in spring-time, then you need to start creating that look now.
If you love the idea of having pots brimming with daffodils or tulips in spring-time, then you need to start creating that look now. iStock

Get ready for the spring show

If you love the idea of having pots brimming with daffodils or tulips in springtime, then you need to start creating that look now.

I always think it's best to get the bulbs early in the season, and then pop them in the fridge for a few weeks before planting in mid-late April. This spell in the fridge simulates a much colder winter than we are likely to experience. Some varieties of bulbs don't mind our milder conditions, but tulips and hyacinths especially seem to appreciate the chilling. Freesias, daffodils, jonquils and ixias will be successful even without it.

A drop-dead gorgeous potted bulb display is a numbers game. You need to really cram those bulbs in, ideally in two or three layers in a pot, to create a really luxurious show. Or go to the other end of the spectrum and create a minimalist look with a few simple pots each containing a single bulb.

When you are planting bulbs in pots you can put them much closer together than you would if you were planting them in the ground; they can be almost touching each other. The most important thing is to use a premium potting mix, and to plant them deep enough, at least two or three times the height of the bulb. Hyacinths are the exception that proves the rule - these will flower even if the bulbs are not fully buried. In fact, you can grow a hyacinth bulb in the fridge in a vase with a neck that holds the bulb up above the water. It can stay in the fridge until the flower bud forms.


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