get dirty

Plant Bulbs!

a quick and easy planting project that that will bring you sunshine in January

By Kate Bryant November 10, 2011

Do you find yourself at Trader Joe’s in January, snapping up little pots of yellow daffodils? We all lust for happy color and brightness in the depths of a gloomy Portland winter – and they’re so cheap and, well, right there! How can we not buy them?

You’ll be happy to learn that it’s actually dirt-easy to plant those very same flowers at home. Get them planted soon and they’ll be merrily flowering for you in late winter or spring. Why is this better than buying them pre-made? It’s cheaper; you get to pick the type of flowers and pots they’re in, and best of all, it’s fun!


Little Gem Narcissus flowering in early February

Here’s the down-and-dirty method for just one happy daffodil pot to brighten up your January or February.

- Get (or dig up from your basement) a round terra cotta pot about 5" deep and 5-7" diameter and a little bag of potting soil.

- Pick up about 7-12 dwarf early yellow Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ bulbs (they’re going on sale at most local nurseries about now).

- Cut a single square of newspaper or frost cloth to cover the drain hole.

- Add potting soil to about 1/3 full.

- Snuggle those bulbs in, roots down/tips up. It’s best if they aren’t touching one another – just a quarter or half inch apart is fine.

- Top up with potting soil, lightly tamp soil down, water in and settle pots in a bit of bark mulch or an out-of-the-way part of the garden where winter rain will fall on the pots and keep them damp during the winter. It’s best to mulch up the sides of the pots and on top with fine bark should the weather drop into the teens, as the bulbs are more vulnerable to freezing in pots than they would be buried under the ground.

That’s the basic concept! Looking for more details or want to some of the fancy tricks used by a professional gardener? Read this post I wrote in the fall of 2009.

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