Easy to grow bulbs for containers and pots

If you have a small shady garden patio or balcony you might think that it’s impossible to grow a little outdoor oasis. Did you know that flower bulbs like daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths to name a few, will make beautiful displays even in small gardens in the middle of the city? These spring-flowering bulbs don’t need much space, and there are also enough varieties which will thrive in shade.

Growing flower bulbs in containers or pots is a great way to brighten up even the smallest of spaces, they add colour and can enhance your patio, balcony or windowsill. One of the benefits of growing bulbs in pots and containers is that you can move the pots around to catch the sun and if you move house, you can easily take your potted bulbs with you.

The key to a successful container garden, especially when planting bulbs, is to make sure your containers are deep enough and have good drainage with a hole at the bottom to allow excess water to drain out. Most bulbs will rot if the soil is overly wet for long periods. It’s also a good idea to ensure that your bulbs don’t touch the edge of the pot as it can get hot and damage the roots of the plant.

So, with this in mind we have recommended our best spring flowering bulbs which are all shade-loving varieties which can be grown in containers and pots to help create a burst of colour in early spring.

Best bulbs for containers & pots


Tulips are one of the most popular bulbs for containers and pots with plenty of colourful blooms to choose from. We would recommend Red Riding Hood with its bright red petals to give you some colour from April to May. The best time to plant tulips is in early autumn for spring blooms, ensure you plant them 4 “/10cm deep and the same distance apart. Water well after planting and because they are easy to care for and don’t require much effort, they won’t need much care until spring.

Hyacinths (Hyacinthus prepared)

Hyacinth bulbs can be planted in autumn for beautiful spring flowers in a variety of colors including blue, purple, pink, cream and white. Hyacinths have sturdy foliage, which means you can get away with shallow planting in containers. Just ensure your pot or container has good drainage and place them in a shady spot. Hyacinths grow to approximately 10”/25cm in height and only use 1-5 bulbs per pot.  After Hyacinths are finished flowering in late spring, the flower stalks can be cut back, but the leaves should be left to die off naturally. The foliage helps the Hyacinths to gather energy for the next year’s flowers. We recommend the beautiful Hyacinthus Fondant spring flowering bulb, its apple blossom pink flowers adorned with paler edges will add a cheerful sight to your containers.

Muscari Grape Hyacinths

Muscari Grape Hyacinths have bright blue flowers that look like a cross between a bunch of grapes and a miniature hyacinth. They like shady places and look good in pots and containers or even window boxes. They attract a wide range of pollinators, including bees, providing them with an early source of pollen and nectar after hibernation. Plant Muscari bulbs in autumn by digging a small trench 10cm deep and toss in a handful of the tiny bulbs. Ensure to water well after planting.

Daffodils (Narcissus)

Daffodils are beautiful, bright, spring flowering bulbs that come in a range of colors including yellow, white, and cream. They are a firm favourite at springtime and come in a variety of flower shapes and sizes to brighten up your patio or balcony. They grow well in containers and autumn is the best time to plant Daffodil bulbs as it gives them time to produce new roots before the cold weather strikes. We would recommend Narcissus Tete A Tete which is a beautiful dwarf daffodil with deep golden flowers that appear in early spring, with each stem bearing up to three blooms making them ideal for planting in patio containers.


Crocuses are popular perennials with blooms in a variety of colors including yellow, purple, pink, red, orange, and blue. Crocus bulbs, or corms, can be planted in autumn and they will flower in late winter and early spring. They’re frost tolerant and will grow well in full sun or partial shade. Early foraging bees appreciate their nectar too.


Irises come in a variety of colors, including blue, violet and deep purple.

Irises will bloom best in full sun. So, if your balcony or patio is south facing, they will flourish. Although most Irises will tolerate partial shade.

The bulbs should be planted 1”/3cm deep and watered well after planting. Place them in a shady garden spot. Irises are frost hardy and can reach 6”/15cm in height when fully in bloom between February to March. You can also grow Irises indoors in pots.

Anemone Blanda

Anemones are beautiful, brightly colored flowers that are perfect for pots and containers in a sunny spot on your patio. They produce a succession of flowers over spring and can produce up to 20 flowers per bulb. Anemones should be planted 1 – 2 inches (2.5 – 5 cm) deep and 1 – 2 inches apart. It doesn’t matter which side of the bulb is facing upwards, just ensure you plant these between September to December to enjoy flowers in March and April. We would recommend Anemone Blanda Blue bulbs as they have blue flowers which appear above dark green leaves, adding plenty of colour when in flower.

Bluebells (Hyacinthoides)

Bluebells are a common British woodland flower but they can also be grown in containers. Bluebell bulbs should be planted at least 4“/10 cm deep and grow best in shady spots or partial sun. Ensure there are adequate draining holes in the pot and plant in a partial shady spot.

For our full range of spring flowering bulbs you can visit The Bulb Market in our designated glasshouse or view our range online.

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