How to Plant Bulbs in Outdoor Containers


Planting flower bulbs in outdoor containers is a way to bring color onto patios, decks and doorsteps. There are a variety of containers available from many retailers to accommodate almost any area. The growing medium--potting soil--must have good organic material that can drain away any excess moisture; regular garden soil may compact too much in the container. Consult your local nursery for any special care requirements for certain bulb species. Not all bulbs planted in containers will react to the same growing conditions.

Step 1

Clean the container with warm soapy water. Rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residues. All containers must have a drain hole in the bottom. Bulbs do not like to have wet feet, and will rot if kept in excessive moisture.

Step 2

Wet a soil mix medium that contains peat moss with warm water. The warm water will soak into the soil mix faster, and allow for easier handling.

Step 3

Fill the container to within 2 inches of the top rim. Larger containers may have to be moved to its final location prior to soil addition, as the container will become quite heavy when full of moist soil.

Step 4

Plant the bulbs in the container. The depth of bulbs will depend on the bulbs' diameter. A rule of thumb is to plant bulbs in a depth that is two to three times the diameter of the bulb. In other words, a 2-inch diameter bulb will be set below the soil line 4 to 6 inches deep.

Step 5

Space the bulbs according to nursery suggestions or your own design ideas. Not all bulbs like to be crowded, while others can be set right next to each other.

Step 6

Water the bulbs into the soil to improve the bulb-to-soil contact.

Things You'll Need

  • Container (size depends on type of bulbs)
  • Warm soapy water
  • Soil mix medium with peat moss
  • Water
  • Bulbs
  • Hand trowel


  • University of Kentucky: Spring, Summer and Fall Bulbs
  • West Virginia University: Container Gardening
Keywords: container grown bulbs, bulbs in pots, growing container bulbs

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.