Container Planting

Speaker: Tim Woodland
Date: 30th March
Year: 2016

Lilium Nepalense

Lilium Nepalense


Tim told us he runs DirectBulbs , a family business with over 20 year’s experience in the horticulture industry. He brought along some of his special bulbs for us to buy.

We enjoyed his colourful PowerPoint presentation in which he encouraged us to be creative in our choice of containers, the planting of which enables us to control what to grow and where to grow it. He emphasised that bulbs need to be fed at leaf and flowering stages so they keep on flowering; they need potash and phosphates (tomorite and bonemeal). Tim then went through month by month describing some of his favourite specimens; winter and autumn are the most favoured for bulbs in containers.

January/February – species crocus and tall Dutch crocus

Spring – daffodils (yellow flowering most popular). Daffodils are mainly divided into 14 divisions; most are grown in Cornwall, a lot of which are imported through Holland. It takes 25 years to get a daffodil to market.

Summer – lilies; the size of their bulb determines the size of the flower and the number of stems which can vary from 2/3 up to 5/7 stems per bulb. The bulbs should be stored at -10C and should be planted on their side, they need good drainage and feeding is critical. Dwarf lilies are more suitable to containers. Tall lilies need staking. Oriental and trumpet lilies are fragrant. Use 1/3 old and 2/3 new compost with a handful of sand for drainage in the container. It takes 5/6 years to get lilies to market.

gladiolus grandiflora, have strong colours and need a lot of sun. The glamini group are dwarf, grow to 1.5 ft tall and are ideal for containers. Others mentioned were g. miniatus and g. acidanthus both 2.5 ft tall.

zantedeschia, the common calla lily, 2-4 ft, good for cut flowers but needs constant feeding; may over winter in sunny spots outdoors.

crinnium – large bulbs, one flower spike 2 ft tall but bearing several flowers per stem; sunny position, flowers early August.

ranunculus – brilliant  coloured double flowers will brighten up any garden container, best grow with John Innes 2 or 3; flowers June-August.

Other bulbs described included ecomis or pineapple flower; to grow with other tall plants; should be brought in for the winter; flowers September-October

Last very important point – remember to label containers and take them out to display area when they show signs of growth.

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