How to Water Bulbs for Potted Plants


Bulbs are classified in two main categories: tender bulbs and hardy bulbs. Hardy bulbs are more tolerant of the cold and can be planted outdoors and even winter in the ground in many regions of the United States. Tender bulbs, however, are more sensitive to cool temperatures and are often grown as potted plants so that they can be taken indoors when temperatures drop. Both plants can easily be grown in pots. But keep in mind that bulbs grown in pots must be watered more frequently than bulbs grown in the ground.

Step 1

Water your bulbs thoroughly immediately after you plant them in their pots--until water drips out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

Step 2

Check the moisture level in the soil twice daily until you get a feel for your potted bulb's year-round water needs. Don't just eyeball it. Soil that is dry on the very top may be moist just beneath the surface. To get an accurate measure of the soil level, stick your finger or some other implement into the soil to determine to what depth the soil is dry.

Step 3

Water your bulb whenever the top few inches (or top third of the pot) dry out. Use your watering can to water the soil until water drips out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

Step 4

Stop watering bulbs that will be overwintered indoors as soon as the first frost approaches. Store them in a cool (40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit) dark place for two to three months. Do not return them outdoors or begin watering them again until new buds begin to emerge.

Step 5

Submerge the pot in water if the soil is completely dried out. Plug the drain in your sink and place the potted plant in the sink. Fill the sink with water until it reaches at least halfway up the pot. Allow the soil to soak up water through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot until the surface of the soil is moist to the touch. Drain the water from the sink and allow the water to drain out of the pot for roughly one hour.

Things You'll Need

  • Watering can
  • Sink


  • University of Missouri: Care of Flowering Potted Plants
  • Plant Ideas: Bulbs for Indoor Culture
  • Saved by the Bud: Choice and Basic Care of Potted Bulbs

Who Can Help

  • Plant Minder
Keywords: water bulbs, water potted plant, water potted bulbs

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.