Container Gardening For Every Season
Last year, at the end of the season and the spent plants had been removed, I decided not to empty the pots, but to re-use them and the potting mix in them. There were spring bulbs on sale everywhere and perennials were being marked down at the end of the season. Since most of our pots are pretty large, it seemed like a good idea to take advantage of the plants and bulbs on sale. Not only would I not have to empty those big pots, but I would have something to look forward to next spring and summer.
After I thoroughly removed all parts of the dead or dying plants, including the roots, I rejuvenated the potting mix with a little compost, vermiculite and bone meal. I then planted the bulbs, (tulips and daffodils), about 6-8” deep, all over the surface of the pots. In some of the pots I planted perennials over the tulips, knowing that the tulips and daffodils would come up and bloom early and as they were finishing up, the perennials would wake up and begin to grow, hiding the spent tulip and daffodils leaves.
Some of the pots I left planted only with the bulbs, because I wanted to plant more annuals above them in the summer, as the daffodils and tulips were fading.
It all worked out really well, with a beautiful display of tulips and daffodils to brighten the chilly spring. The perennials slept until their pot-mates were dying back, and then they grew into beautiful plants, after putting down roots all winter. The annuals were planted and grew, with blossoms cascading down the sides of the pots, seemingly unaware of the colony of bulbs going to sleep beneath them.
I now realize that I’ll have to lift the bulbs in a couple of years, as they multiply and get too crowded. Also, as the perennials mature and the roots begin to need more space, it will probably get too crowded with the bulbs in there. That means the perennials will have to be disturbed as the bulbs are removed.
I’ve come to the conclusion, that the best arrangement is to only plant the bulbs into the pots where there will be annuals planted above them, since annuals come out at the end of the season anyway. The perennials will be in separate pots, so that they won’t have to be disturbed as they grow to full size.