How to Plant Bulbs in January


In January, many regions are prone to frost, and the ground may be completely frozen at that time of year. In this case, starting bulbs indoors in pots can give you control over their growing conditions. Planting bulbs in pots is a good way to get your gardening fix in the middle of winter when plant projects are far and few between.

Step 1

Place a layer of pebbles over the drainage hole of the planting pot before adding soil mix. Clay pots are preferable, especially for bulb species that dislike excessive moisture, because they dry out quicker than plastic ones.

Step 2

Put a layer of soil mix at the bottom of the pot. If using a plastic pot (for bulb species that prefer moist conditions) this will be the first layer of material to go into the pot. If using a clay pot, this layer covers the pebbles in the bottom.

Step 3

Plant the bulbs at twice their own depth and no closer than one bulb's width apart. Depending on the size of your bulbs and pot, you may be able to plant just one in each pot, or several. Bulbs should go into the pot with the pointy end up.

Step 4

Cover bulbs with soil mix, making sure not to knock them over on their sides. The mix should come to within one-half inch of the pot's rim.

Step 5

Top the remaining space in the pot with a layer of coarse sand to keep the temperature and moisture levels as stable as possible for the bulbs, even though they will be indoors. Don't water the pot until the soil mix is dry and root growth begins, so the bulbs don't rot.

Step 6

Label the pot to keep track of the bulb species. This is especially useful if planting several pots containing different species. Write the species name in permanent pen on a Popsicle stick, and insert it into the soil at the edge of the pot.

Things You'll Need

  • Planting pots
  • Flower bulbs
  • Soil mix
  • Coarse sand
  • Pebbles
  • Labels


  • "Eyewitness Garden Handbooks: Bulbs"; ed. Charlotte Stock; 1997
Keywords: plant winter bulbs, january bulb planting, indoor bulb planting, bulbs in pots

About this Author

Naomi Judd, CIG, has been a writer for six years and been published in Tidal Echoes, Centripetal, The Capital City Weekly and She has a self-designed Bachelor of Arts degree in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is currently earning an Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from University of Southern Maine.