An idea worth stealing: Mesh pots for bulb collections

Last year I was in England, and a snowdrop obsessive there (aka, a Galanthophile) showed me this cool trick, using mesh pots to keep her vast collection of different varieties organized.


She puts her bulbs in these pots (designed for use in hydroponic systems, I believe), and then sinks the entire pot down in the ground, so that the pot is invisible. The pot keeps the bulbs contained and easy to find so you can dig them up to divide or share even when dormant, and keeps different varieties growing next to each other from getting mixed up. But unlike a regular solid-sided pot, the open mesh allows roots and water to move freely so the bulbs grow just as easily and with as little care as if they were planted directly in the ground.

Corydalis turtschaninovii
Corydalis turtschaninovii

I’m not a snowdrop lover, they frankly bore me, but I have been getting more and more obsessed with bulbous corydalis, selections of C. solida and the amazing true blue Corydalis turtschaninovii. The tiny bulbs are impossible to find once they get dormant, and my collection is already beginning to get mixed up as the different varieties begin dividing and encroaching on each other… I’m going to start planting new editions in mesh pots to keep everything organized.

Joseph Tychonievich

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Linda Chalker-Scott

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and a Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing, Inc., and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do from Timber Press (2015). Her latest effort is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest from UW Press (2019). In 2018 Linda was featured in a video series – The Science of Gardening – produced by The Great Courses. She also is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s contribution to gardeners was recognized in 2017 by the Association for Garden Communicators as the first recipient of their Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award. "The Garden Professors" Facebook page - "The Garden Professors" Facebook group - Books:

6 thoughts on “An idea worth stealing: Mesh pots for bulb collections”

    1. I don’t believe that these mesh pots will yield success when it comes to thwarting voles. They tend to travel on the soil surface and burrow down into the chosen bulb. One winter, I lost over 100 Asiatic and Oriental Lily bulbs to voles. Every one of them had been accessed from the top down.

  1. I am trying the same concept with my daffodil bulbs to keep the varieties separated. I used plastic colanders, a large tea-strainer, the insert basket in lettuce spinners, utensil basket from dish drainers–items that I would be discarding or from thrift stores. Some deeper items get a handful of pea gravel. Labels were attached to edge of container with a twist-tie. Archaeologists will be puzzled at some point!

  2. Any sources you can share for Corydalis turtschaninovii? I saw it on Prairie Break and have been looking ever since, seed or plant. The only source I could scare up that does mail order in in Latvia or maybe it was Lithuania. Maybe I should join a plant society……

      1. Thanks, Joseph. That’s one of the sources I had found. It looks like they only have a hybrid this year. Great stuff, though. Augis Bulbs in Lithuania has it, as well as tons of other cool stuff, and what seems like reasonable prices. Cheers.

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