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London Cottage Garden Tulips in pots – some realities from my experience – London Cottage Garden

    London Cottage Garden Tulips in pots - some realities from my experience - London Cottage Garden

    May 29th, 2021 – Spring gardening

    Tulips in pots are coming to an end just now at the very end of May

    TV and magazines have been full of gardens bursting with tulips in pots of all kinds. I’ve always grown my tulips in pots, lifting them out when they’re over and using the pot for a plant I’ve bought that needs a home of its own.

    Orange Emperor tulips in a pot

    Tulip Orange Emperor flowers early in April and was over by the end of April

    You’ve spotted the problem already haven’t you. I soon run out of pots to use for new plants.

    Since I don’t bother with temporary summer annuals and use the pots for the new perennial plants I keep buying, I then have no spare pots for the tulips come November and have to buy some more pots to plant the tulips in. And on it goes until I can’t move for pots.

    Orange Ballerina, purple Attila and pale something in pots at Gravetye Manor Garden

    Carol Klein in her recent Ch 5 tv program explained why tulips don’t flower well a second time. It’s worth watching. So if we buy good value cheaper bulbs from JParkers or GeeTee bulbs then let’s treat them as annuals and not give ourselves a hard time trying to get a second year from them.

    How well do tulips in pots survive wet and windy weather?

    Here’s a spectacular pot of Purple Dream over a few weeks.
    From this on 24th April

    tulips in a pot

    25 Purple Dream tulips in a big yellow pot

    to this on 8th of May

    Tulips in a pot

    Tulips looking a bit windswept

    To this on 17th May

    purple tulips in a pot

    O dear. Definitely past their best

    After ten days of looking at this, I cracked and pulled them out.

    And from this lovely pot of clusiana Cynthia tulips, tiny robust species tulips that would be perennial if in the border………

    species tulips in a pot

    Species tulip clusiana Cynthia – so pretty

    To this pile of stems when, after I had lifted them, the squirrels ate every single bulb


    The squirrels left me these bits. So kind.

    So that was definitely the end of those, which would have been perennial if I had been able to replant them.

    Here are Amazing Parrot on the right, already opening and Apricot Parrot on the left, still quite closed on 2nd May

    parrot tulips in a pot

    Parrot tulips are an acquired taste. These two varieties lasted longer than my other tulips.

    Here they are on 14th May after some rain.

    And a few days later

    They lasted open like this until May 24th when I pulled out those in the photo.

    Here is Temple of Beauty from the top class bowed down by some rain in mid May

    But amazingly they regained their strength and stood tall and strong for a few more weeks. Still looking good today even after hailstorms. This variety is definitely one for next year as it lasts through bad weather so well.

    tulips in a pot

    Tulip Temple of Beauty. A fantastic tulip in every way.

    When they look this wonderful it is very hard to cut them for a vase but I’ve written here about how you can have enough in the garden to pick a few. How to have cut flowers from your small garden

    These Marianne in a pot by the front door kept going from this

    To this

    And, would you believe it, back again. At least three times responding to atrocious weather and then sunny calm periods.

    A truly amazing tulip for pots

    This below is Ballerina, an incredibly popular, successful tulip that I buy new every year. It grows tall and strong, lasts for 6 weeks or more and has the scent of orange sherbert. It has stood tall through all this rain and wind we’ve had. A truly amazing tulip.

    container gardening with tulips

    Ballerina, surely the best orange tulip for being long lasting.

    So my conclusion is that it is always worth having some tulips in pots, every year, even though some years they don’t last as long as others. If you have a budget for it, have fun with the colors you love and they will really lift your heart as we come out of winter into spring. As for timing, buy them in the autumn and plant them by Christmas.

    Thanks for reading my blog and if you would like future blogs, one or two a month, to come into your inbox please leave your email in the box at the top of the page. You can also see my photos of the garden on Instagram.

    I hope you’re all able to enjoy being outside, whatever space you have. Best wishes, Julie


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