How to Plant Tulip Bulbs in Containers

Colorful tulips bloom in early spring. image by rosevita/morguefile


Just because you are limited on space is no reason to miss out on growing tulips in your yard. Tulip bulbs grown in containers create a show stopping display of color in early spring and can be tucked into any corner of the yard. With a little planning and the right container, you have the makings of a spectacular floral arrangement suitable for the front steps or even for indoor display.

Step 1

Choose a container that complements the style of your home. Terracotta pots make wonderful planters, but do not limit yourself to commercial pots. Buckets, bins and recycled cans work just as well. Keep in mind the planter will be over-wintered outside and must be able to withstand winter weather in your area.

Step 2

Fill the container to 6-8 inches from the top with all-purpose potting soil. Water to moisten and settle the soil. Position bulbs in the soil so that they fit snugly in the container with little room between bulbs.

Step 3

Cover with 4 inches of soil and firm down with your hands to settle the bulbs and remove air pockets. Water thoroughly and place in shaded area.

Step 4

Insulate the containers if you live in an area where freezing occurs in the winter. Cut a section of chicken wire and roll to form a circular enclosure for the container, leaving several inches between the edges of the container and the wire. Fill the gap with hay or straw to form an insulating barrier between the container and the wire. Mulch the top with three to four inches of straw to protect bulbs.

Step 5

Remove the wire cage and insulation in early spring when new growth appears. Place the container in a sunny location. Water thoroughly and keep soil moist.

Things You'll Need

  • Container (plant pot, bucket, bin)
  • Potting soil
  • Chicken wire (optional)
  • Straw/ hay mulch


  • Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension
  • The Grdener's Rake
  • P.Allen Smith Garden Home

Who Can Help

  • Growing Tulips
Keywords: tulips in containers, bulbs in container, contianer bulb gardens

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.

Photo by: rosevita/morguefile