Grow the bulbous plants in a vase
As well as in the ground we can grow bulbous plants that we like best in containers, on the terrace or always in the garden. Virtually all bulbous plants can be grown in pots, obviously the capacity of the container must be commensurate with the development of the plants: for crocuses a small bowl is sufficient, for calla lilies and reeds it is necessary to prepare large pots, at least 35-45 cm of diameter for each plant. This is to allow the root system to develop correctly, but also to provide the right amount of water and mineral substances for the plants.
After choosing the plants and the vase, let's get a good soil; It is preferable to use a good rich and very soft substrate, so that the bulbs dwell there without being crushed by an excessively clayey soil. Then we prepare a mixture consisting of 8 parts of universal soil, a part of sand and a part of manure or humus; the organic fertilizer allows us to have nitrogen available for a few months, and to improve the porosity and the mixture of the soil.
On the bottom of the vase we place a small layer of pumice stone or expanded clay, then we fill the container up to a few centimeters below the edge, we arrange the bulbs and cover up to the collar with the substrate; with the hands or with a shovel we press the soil, so that the bulbs do not move when we water or when we move the vase.
Let's water, and then wait for the bulbs to germinate to water again. We place the vase with the best exposure for the plant we have chosen, but in a place where it can enjoy rainfall, just as if the bulbs were placed in the ground.
The advantages of pot cultivation
Cultivating bulbous plants in pots we can place them closer to the windows, and therefore enjoy more flowering; moreover it often happens that the bulbous plants have reduced flowering periods, and in full ground they force us then to quickly clean up the flowerbed in order to plant plants with more prolonged blooms, so as to have flowers in the garden for many weeks; if instead we grow bulbous plants in a container we can leave them in the container even after flowering and move the pots, replacing them with others that contain long-flowering plants, such as geraniums for example.
Then, in pots, it is easier to water and fertilize bulbous plants, or to extract them from the ground for division or to move excess bulbs.
Some simple rules
But remember that it is not possible to grow this kind of plant from year to year without following some simple rules:
- First of all we always remember that bulbous plants, like all other plants, produce their nourishment through chlorophyll photosynthesis, which is carried out by the leaves, and not by the flowers; for this reason to allow bulbous plants to store nourishment in the bulb for the following year's flowering it is necessary to let the leaves develop fully; then we continue to water and fertilize until the leaves naturally begin to turn yellow and wither; only at this time can we suspend the watering and place the pots in a place where the bulbs can enjoy a period of vegetative rest.
- Bulbous plants tend to proliferate, producing small bulbs on the sides of older ones; in pots it is advisable to periodically remove the bulbils, which otherwise would do nothing but steal nourishment and water from the larger ones, which would therefore tend not to bloom or to bloom little.
- We allow the bulbs to go into vegetative rest; therefore when our bulbous has bloomed and the leaves begin to turn yellow we stop watering it, and we let it enter a period without vegetation; if we continue to keep the plant in vegetation, watering and fertilizing, we would waste all the nutrients present in the bulb, which instead are necessary for the next flowering; so if we keep the foliage of the amaryllis, to give an example, always lush and beautiful, the next year we will most likely not have flowers.
Jar bulbs: Forced bulbous plants
Growing in pots also allows us to have spring bulbous flowers early, perhaps even in the middle of winter.
To have crocuses, daffodils, tulips in bloom in December, it is necessary to put them in pots already in late summer, and then place the pots in a cool place, but not too hot and not too cold; for example in a stairwell or garage. After a few weeks we begin to lightly water the soil, avoiding excesses; as soon as we see the shoots we move the pots to a brighter and slightly warmer place, increasing the frequency of watering. When the flowers begin to blossom we bring the vases into the house, where they will find conditions similar to spring in the garden.
After flowering we let the plants produce foliage, watering and fertilizing regularly. When the leaves begin to wither let us remove them, extract the bulbs from the ground and let them dry, keeping them in a cool, dark place. These can be placed in the garden, in a vase or in the open ground, when the last frosts will be just a memory; although they will probably tend not to bloom during the spring, they will start again the following year.