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What is the best kind of growing medium for planting spring bulbs in pots?

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(No photo needed for this question): Several weeks ago someone advised me that ordinary multipurpose compost is the best choice for doing the autumn work of potting up spring bulbs. (I can't remember whether it was Spritzhenry or Bulbaholic,- beg pardon gents). I am about to plant my first narcissi, muscari and tulips later this month. I am just wondering what people think, whether I should go for a John Innes compost instead, or even a combination of multipurpose and John Innes. In the past I have always used a combination, and indeed with good success. But if I could use multipurpose by itself only, it would be a great advantage for me. Because of my very severe disability it would be easier for me to handle and to move the pots around with, seeing as it is lighter in weight than soil based composts, and physically moving pots nearly always involves great difficulty for me. But my concern is that it might not have as much drainability as John Innes, and that the coldness and dampness of it over winter might rot the bulbs if it means they will sit in it a bit too wet. Advise, experiences and opinions much appreciated.



Hi Jonathan :)
I always use multipurpose compost for all my bulbs. Just make sure you put loads of drainage material in the bottom of the pots to help drainage.I break up polystyrene plant trays and use's light weight, easy to handle and does the job :)

30 Aug, 2009


Ah, I find it polystyrene sticks to my fingers and to everything too much with static, and thus is hard to clear up. I sometimes put granules of perlite in the bottom. Not cheap, but does the job, and keeps the pots light and easy for moving. So your vote is for the multi'. Thank you for that.

30 Aug, 2009


Yes, that's true...polystyrene does stick to everything it touches. Perlite is ideal, but like you say Jonathan, it's really expensive isn't it? I think the last bag I bought (when I was doing my cuttings) was about £7...

30 Aug, 2009


I think it was gardeners world that said turn a plastic flower pot upside down and put in the bottom of your container lighter than stones and not messy like polysti. I guess for smaller containers you could use margarine tubs etc.

Also could Jonathan layer the bulbs in the pots to get more flowers?

30 Aug, 2009


Hi Drc726. Layering is something I tend to do. I have found it works well, and yes, more flowers. I have sometimes tried putting an upside down flower pot in the bottom of ceramic pots, but the trouble is that then there tends to be less room and less compost for the roots of bulbs to go into at the bottom. I have found it in some circumstances helpful.

30 Aug, 2009


I thought it would be too cheap to work I use rocks and stones but it makes the pots even heavier. would rigid (non squashable) upside down icecube trays work?

I have never layed or put bulbs in pots as I do not have that many pots and Ilike to get the summer bedding in them. then winter pansies etc.

30 Aug, 2009


If you have an old clay pot you could sacrifice, put a hammer to it and use the pieces to 'crock' the holes of the pot you are planting in. I guess an old piece of crockery could be used the same way

31 Aug, 2009

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