Growing in Pots

December 13, 2008

Categories: Bulb Information, Daffodil Types, Growing Daffodils, Miniatures, Planting, Pots, Soil

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Mary Lou, George and Bob
If you are not aware, most of us in the UK grow in pots, I know that we do not have as severe winters as some States in the USA where the temperatures can go down lower than -24deg F but we do experience temperatures on average of -5 to -8 dec C in some winters such as 1947,1980 and 1990 and the temperature has been as low as -15 deg C. To overcome the minus temperatures from November until Mid February most of us usually plunge the pots, this is where we bury the pots in either the ground or in cold frames and cover the top of pots to a depth of 4 inches, simulating the bulbs being planted in the ground. The method I use is to plunge in cold frames made of of concrete blocks with a crushed fire clinker base, clinker has been weathered to remove the toxicity, others use 1/2 inch down gravel. I then cover the bulbs with a mixture of Spagmum moss peat mixed with perlite and 8 mm grit, the peat mixture is packed between the pots until there are no air pockets and then the pot tops covered over to a depth of 4 inches. The other method used in the uk is to dig a trench in the plot and put the pots into the trench, before pots are covered 8mm grit is put into the top inch of the pot, cover material is the spoil from the trench. The grit is used to ensure that when the pots are removed from the punge in February the soil from the garden can be removed quite easily by tipping the grit out of the pot.
Terry also plunges her miniatures in block cold frames in sand, each pot is buried in the sand nearly pot thick up to the rim of the pot then to ensure that they do not get too wet during the severe winter conditions she covers them over with dutch lights, these are suspended on a timber frame 10 inches above the the frames, this method allows a cool passage of air over the surface of the pot and reduces the temperature under the covers, preventing the bulbs from being forced.
All we are tring to achieve in the UK is to create the the same conditions as the bulbs planted in the ground – the bulbs in the ground are planted at a depth of 6 inches and the bulbs in the plunge are also sitting at the same depth. The advantage of pot growing is that you can bring the pots of the late flowering varieties into the greenhouse in mid February to catch the early April shows, this can be very helpful when in 2009 when the main daffodil competition is on the 7 April. Where I live I would not be able to enter the collection classes requiring blooms from Div’s 1-4 until the third and fourth weeks in April if I had to rely on the bulbs in the ground, and the season ends in May; without this method my season would be restricted to 1 or 2 major shows.
We hope this gives you a bit more information on pot cultivation, if you require any more we will be only too glad to provide compost used in the pots, how we roughly time flowering and treatment after flowering of bulbs in pots. See pictures attached of bulb frames.
Roger & Terry Braithwaite

2 responses to “Growing in Pots”

  1. Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio Mary Lou Gripshover says:

    Roger and Terry, Thanks for your detailed description of how you grow your bulbs in pots. It’s very helpful. The few pots I’ve plunged in the open aren’t covered with 4 inches of mulch, but maybe I should consider adding some. The pots are just sunk to the rim. Most of the exhibitors I know don’t have greenhouses, so there’s no reason to plant in pots so they can be moved into a greenhouse to encourage earlier blooms. I think some people plunge the bulbs they want to force and then bring them into a cool room when growth begins to show. I’ve not done this, so I’m not sure.
    Our “main show,” the convention show, moves around the country so everyone hopefully has a chance at national awards at some point. Next year it will be in Chicago in late April. The following year it will be in California in mid-March. And there are a good many shows that offer ADS awards so that a serious exhibitor can probably get to shows both early and late.
    I do admire Terry’s mini frame though. Maybe even covet! If I were younger, I might do something like that along the south wall of my house.
    Mary Lou

  2. Melissa Reading says:

    Roger & Terry: If you would please continue with your story of pot growing, including “compost used in the pots, how we roughly time flowering and treatment after flowering of bulbs in pots” I would be most grateful. If you could also include any pesticide regime you follow, and information on feeding I would be most interested to hear it. Owing to our lack of decent soil I grow almost everything in pots, as you have read before, and I’d be happy to improve my practices. Hoping you are well, Warm regards, Melissa
    .At 05:07 PM 12/13/2008, Roger Braithwaite wrote: