Recycling Potted Bulbs

If you’re like me, by now you may be wishing it were Spring, and have found yourself buying a little pot of bulbs at the grocery store. It’s hard to resist the pots of daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths. I have even found myself creating a little shrine to Spring in the middle of our dining room table, with a pot of daffodils, an amaryllis, and a bouquet of hyacinths left with me by my sister on her way to flying down to, where else, Florida.

Daffodil 'tete a tete'

The question often comes up whether pots of bulbs can be “recycled,” and planted out into the garden, and the answer is “It depends.” The little potted daffodils available now are usually the variety “tête á tête,” and they can be planted into the garden. When they are finished blooming, put them into a cool spot, such as the basement, and plant them out as soon as the ground thaws. It takes bulbs awhile to recover from being potted up, and these may not make a big show next spring, but I have clumps here and there in my garden testifying as to their resilience.

Tulips are another matter. They are exhausted after blooming, and their foliage dies quickly. In my opinion, unless the tulips is in some way fabulous, I would toss it on the compost. But if you want to try, plant the spent tulips in a spot with dry soil. Tulips need dry soil in summer, and if planted where they get regular water, they will rot away.

So let’s enjoy our beautiful bulbs right now with their lovely colors and scents, and Spring will be here before we know it!

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