27 Best Flower Bulbs to Grow in Containers and When to Plant Them

Raul is an Editor at BalconyGardenWeb and an expert in flower and herb cultivation based in Phoenix, Arizona. A frequent speaker at horticultural events, he is also an active contributor to Facebook flower groups. Holding an MBA degree, Raul blends his gardening skills with strong leadership and analytical abilities.
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Looking for Flower Bulbs to Grow in Containers? Here are the best ones that you can try your hands on!

Don’t have a garden to grow the bulbs of your choice? Don’t worry! You can start them in pots, too! We have handpicked the most gorgeous ones!

Flower Bulbs to Grow in Containers

1. Tulips

tulip bulbs in container 1

The quintessential bulb that you must grow in container, hands down! You have to make sure to pre-chill these in a refrigerator for about 12 to 16 weeks in a breathable bag, away from fruits, before planting.

The best time to plant these beauties is in the fall, from September to November. While planting them in a container, the correct depth is important, so ensure they are in the soil, about 3 times the height of the bulb.

2. Daffodils

growing daffodil bulbs in container pot

The next one on the list of flower bulbs to grow in containers are the charming daffodils! Plant them in fall and these bulbs will then bloom in early spring, from March to April, which can be anywhere between 15-20 weeks after planting.

3. Hyacinths

growing hyacinth bulbs in container

Like tulips, these bulbs, too, need a chilling period (10-16 weeks). Once you give that treatment to these, plant them in a container in fall, and you will find them blooming in spring!

4. Crocus 

growing crocus in container

These are the first flowers to bloom in spring, and you can start planting them in the pots in late fall. The moment outdoor snow melts, you will find these plants blooming!

Remember, as these bulbs are small, it would be a good idea to plant a few of them together for a cluster of flowering displays!

5. Ranunculus 

ranunculus in a container pot

For milder zones, you can start planting these in the fall and for colder states, planting them in early spring would be a good idea.

However, for container planting, you can do it easily indoors, during late winter, too. They usually bloom in 80-90 days after planting.

6. Calla Lilies

cala lily growing in a pot

These bulbs are best planted in spring for flowers in summer. The plant generally blooms within 70-90 days after planting. For colder regions you can easily plant them in containers indoors, about 7-8 weeks before the last expected frost date in your area.

7. Begonias

begonia tubers to grow in container

These are great for pots, as you can start them indoors in late winter or early spring, and the plant will then bloom throughout the summer!

Do note that these flowers are sensitive to cold, and container growing is probably the best option to start these bulbs.

8. Anemones

anemone with growing roots

For containers, fall or early spring is the best time to start anemones. For colder regions, start them indoors in pots during late winter. You just have to wait for about 90 days to see the plant full of blooms!

Note: Soaking the bulbs overnight before planting will encourage better growth.

9. Allium

Allium spring bulbs come in purples, whites, and even yellows. To get them going, plant them in the fall, just before the ground freezes. As for depth, pot them about 3 times deeper than the bulb itself, so they have a nice, sturdy base to grow from!

10. Iris

Irises are for fall planting, too, just like your Alliums. Dig a hole about 2-3 inches deep for your iris bulb in its pot. That way, it can root nicely before winter and put on a stunning show next spring!

11. Gladiolus

Gladiolus aren’t bulbs, they’re corms! These wait for warmer weather, so plant them in spring after the last frost. A hole about 6 inches deep for each corm is more than enough. Bury them with their pointy end facing up, and space them 3-5 inches apart.

12. Freesia

Planting Freesia depends on where you live. If there’s a cold climate, plant them in spring, and you’ll get summer flowers. But if the area is warm, plant them in fall for winter flowers. 2-3 inches deep in the pot is great!

13. Amaryllis


The potting time for Amaryllis is quite flexible, so you can plant them anytime, and they’ll give you blooms in about 6-10 weeks. (You can start in late fall so they bloom in winter). Just plant the bulb with its pointy end up and leave the top third sticking out of the soil.

14. Lilies

Ideally, you should plant Lily bulbs in the fall, at least 4 weeks before the first frost. It gives them a head start on root growth and they benefit from a cool winter for bigger blooms.

Make sure the hole is 2-3 times deeper than the bulb itself so the roots have plenty of space to grow.

15. Snowdrop

The best time to plant and grow Snowdrop bulbs in containers is in the fall, around October or November, when the soil is cool. Just pop them in a pot at a depth of 2-3 inches, give them some water, and wait for spring to see their flowers.

16. Scilla

Scilla bulbs bring on beautiful blue flowers in early spring. They’re like Snowdrops, and you have to plant them in mid to late fall. About 3-4 inches deep is good for them.

Make sure the small points face up, and keep the pot in a spot with bright light. They can also tolerate partial shade.

17. Muscari

Muscaris are also lovely flower bulbs to grow in a pot. The ideal time to plant these for indoor growing is mid to late fall, around September to November. They’ll bloom around April to May and love bright light and cool temperatures.

18. Dahlia


Unlike the early spring bulbs we just talked about, Dahlias are all about summer! They don’t like cold weather at all. The best time to plant Dahlia tubers (not really bulbs!) is in the spring after all the danger of frost is over. Think mid-April to early June, depending on where you live.

19. Crocosmia

For Crocosmia flower bulbs growing in containers, wait for spring and plant the bulbs in mid-April to early June. Crocosmia planted in spring will typically take 12-16 weeks to establish themselves and start blooming, so you’ll likely see those fiery flowers in late summer or early fall.

20. Eucomis (Pineapple Lily)

Eucomis bulbs don’t like the cold and should be planted in spring. These guys are slow and steady growers, so be patient! It can take 3-4 months for them to show off their green foliage and a bit more to flower. They’re great for structural planting in containers!

21. Camassia

Don’t plant them in the spring. Instead, wait for fall, around October or November, when the soil is nice and cool. This gives them time to settle in before winter. Once you have, keep the pot in the sun or light shade–it’s good for them.

22. Crinum

Wait until spring has sprung and there’s no danger of frost (usually around mid-April to early June). Cold weather isn’t their thing! Also, Crinums can grow quite large, so choose a roomy pot. At least 14-18 inches deep and a few inches wider than the bulb itself.

23. Peruvian Daffodil

Peruvian Daffodil bulbs need full sun and give flowers in mid-summer. If you’re planting the bulbs in pots, do it in spring after the frost has passed. Once you have, keep the pot in full sun, and after about 8-10 weeks, you will see the flowers.

24. Oriental Lily

Oriental lilies are flexible! You can plant them in spring or fall for pots. They like their chill time, though, so fall might be best. As for blooms, these Lilies are a bit slower than Mexican Shell Flowers, so they’ll take about 16-20 weeks before you see the flowers.

25. Fritillaria

Fall is your best bet for Fritillaria in a pot! Ideally, plant them between September and December. They’ll take advantage of the cooler weather to root nicely. Patience is key, though, as these beauties won’t flower until spring–but the wait will be worth it!

26. Sternbergia

Sternbergia, like most fall-flowering bulbs, thrives when planted in cooler weather. Aim for mid-summer to early fall, ideally between July and September. This gives them time to establish roots before winter.

They’re not the fastest bloomers, so you’ll have to wait about 16-20 weeks for them to flower.

27. Ixia

Brie The Plant Lady

Ixia flower bulbs can be easily grown in containers. Plant them in late fall or the early winter months so they can establish their roots before the growing season kicks in. They take about 8-12 weeks to bloom and need moist soil to thrive.

Some Important Tips to Grow These Bulbs in Containers

  • Use well-draining soil, and make sure the container has a drainage hole at the bottom.
  • Most of these bulbs need full sunlight for at least 5-6 hours daily. Crocus wouldn’t mind a bit of shade, but it, too, needs 2-3 hours of full sun daily.
  • Do not keep the growing medium soggy—water only when the topsoil feels a little dry to the touch.
  • At the time of planting, feed the bulbs with a 1/4 strength balanced liquid feed (10-10-10), and then fertilize them every 3-4 weeks using the same dose.
  • If you don’t want to go with a pot, you can also grow bulbs in a glass of water.

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