I love early spring containers, especially those with tulips. It’s Fall’s gift to Spring. When it’s too early to plant tender annuals for fear of winters last touch of frost, you can still marvel at the beauty of delicate tulips, daffodils (narcissus) and pansies. Plant your favorite tulip bulbs and pansies in the fall (usually late November in zone 7) and reap the rewards as spring arrives. Just make sure they get enough sun while the temps are cool. Unfortunately, the tulips and the pansies can’t take the heat as summer arrives, but by then it’s time for a new summer palette.
If you’ve forgotten to plant your tulip bulbs in the fall, simply refrigerate your bulbs for a couple of months (usually between 8 to 12 weeks) and then place them in either a forcing vase, bowl or traditional pot in a nice warm sunny spot indoors. (Check out more on forcing bulbs in the greenhouse section of our site.)
Above: These bulbs were forced in the greenhouse. The tulips will start emerging in just a few days. Just a few weeks later the tulips will flower. Below: the pot from above in bloom.
I chose a lower growing tulip to force. This is a Greigii Tulip that reaches only 10″ tall. The red and white flowers would be so pretty around Christmas or Valentine’s Day! (Refrigerate the bulbs by October for Christmas flowers.)