Q: I have some tulip bulbs I would like to plant in pots on the deck. Do I need to pre-chill the bulbs for eight weeks and then plant in December? Can I re-use the bulbs next fall?
A: You should plant the tulips in outdoor pots now and let Mother Nature provide the refrigeration.
Consider putting the tulips near the bottom of the pot and placing early-blooming daffodils above them. Fill the pot with potting soil and carefully plant pansies on top. You’ll have in the pot a succession of blooms to delight your eyes for months. The tulips and daffodils will bloom next spring but tulips generally decline and produce few blooms after the first year. For that reason, remove the bulbs in May and plant them in a sunny bed where they can naturalize if they care to. Use fresh bulbs in the pot next fall.