Planting Bulbs in Pots, a Child's Game
Updated: Jan 15
Spring flowers are so beautiful and full of colour, prepare for spring now, by planting flower bulbs until December. Short on space? Bulbs can be planted in pots, a perfect solution for balconies, patios and small urban gardens, like mine. Here is how to plant bulbs in pots, and some extra tips on how to make it into a fun activity with your kids.
Planting bulbs is easy and definitely does not require vast gardening skills, here are some pointers to help you:
If you plant in pots, make sure that the pot has holes for drainage, and that these are not blocked. A bulb is basically an onion, if it will sit in water, it will rot away instead of giving you pretty flowers. If you want to increase drainage, start filling the pot with a layer of gravel or hydro pebbles. Add potting soil on top, but don’t fill the pot completely, leave about 10 cm which you will fill with the bulbs and more soil once planted.
First take a good look to see which type of flower you are planting, if you have a packet with mixed bulbs of different flower types figure out which flower will bloom first, check if they all bloom at the same month. Another thing to be aware of is the estimated flower height, it will look best if you plant the tallest flowers in the middle of a round pot, with the shorter flowers around.
Once you have your floral design in mind, start placing the bulbs in the pot on top of the soil and arrange and re-arrange the bulbs until you are happy. Try to imagine how the flowers will look like.
Planting time! It’s best to plant the bulbs with their pointy part upwards, so make sure you arrange the bulbs accordingly. As a rule of thumb, the bulbs need to be planted in a depth which is three times their size. Hate multiplying? Go for a standard 10 cm for medium-big bulbs, and 5 cm for small ones. Fill the pot with soil to make sure the bulbs are sufficiently covered.
Give water after planting, and that’s it.
Place the pots in a spot with light, and the winter sun and rain will do the job, the bulbs will sprout, plants will develop, and finally, the flowers will bloom.
How to make this attractive for kids?
Make it playful
Some bulbs are big, some can be tiny, they have different shapes and looks. It’s nice to have a good look at the bulbs together and admire them, you can guide your child’s exploration process by asking: which one is your favourite? Can you guess which flower is sleeping inside this bulb? Is it sprouting already? Can you find its roots?
Filling pots with soil is a lot of fun, especially when special gardening tools are involved. Of course, there is no need for anything too special, one big hand trowel is enough. Use a tool which will make it easy for the child to scoop soil, it doesn’t have to be a gardening tool.
Depending on the age of the child, you can plan which bulbs to plant together, it’s especially fun when using mixed bulbs. Let your child design and arrange the bulbs in at least one pot, and mark that pot, so you will know that pot is extra special.
Any activity in the garden or balcony, which includes watering plants is fun for kids, including this case. When you are done planting and it is time to water the pots, you can explain that by watering, we are going to “activate” the bulbs, and little by little the flowers will come out!
You can use this experience to teach a young child about the seasons, numbers, and improve time perception.
Now it’s November (you can plant most spring flowering bulbs from October till December), the flower will bloom in April, let’s count how many months we need to wait; We are planting in autumn, see how the leaves fall off the trees? The garden will go to sleep during winter, and when it will wake up, in the spring, the flowers we just planted will bloom.
You can also make a mini-bloom calendar to make it more exciting, and the child can mark each day that has passed, until the first flower will bloom.
A big thanks to Bloombol for supporting this blog post, we had fun planting their beautiful bulbs, now, make it bloom!