How to...

Successfully Plant Bulbs

Autumn is the perfect time to prepare your garden for beautiful bursts of colour next spring.

 

 

 

Bulbs are often a favourite amongst gardeners because of how easy they are to plant and grow, and how reliably brilliant the results are when spring comes. There are many bulbs to chose from, the most popular being Tulips, Daffodils, Irises and Crocus.

The key to a beautiful display next spring is to ensure you pick healthy bulbs. Avoid bulbs that are at all damaged, shrivelled, feel soft or have any signs of mould. Always go for plump, healthy looking bulbs and aim to plant within a week of receiving them before they begin to sprout.

As a general rule, plant bulbs two to three times their own depth and around two bulb widths apart.

The majority of bulbs prefer to grow in rich soil with good drainage and with plenty of sunlight. It’s worth taking time to prepare your soil by removing any weeds, loosening the soil and adding grit to ensure good drainage.

The pointed end is the stem, plant with this side up, if you can’t tell, plant the bulbs sideways and don’t worry because the shooting stem will find its way eventually. Part of the reason why bulbs are so easy to grow is because they don’t need much attention before spring; just make sure you water your bulbs if you’re having a particularly dry season.  

 

Planting in Beds

Bulbs are well suited to beds and for planting under trees. Most bulbs will spread and increase over time so with a little effort this autumn you will reap the benefits for years to come. 

If you are planting bulbs in your garden beds, its best to keep a note of which bulbs are planted where, to avoid planting over them and disturbing them in years to come.

Alternatively, don’t be scared to try 'naturalizing' bulbs if you want a more natural looking display. Literally just throw bulbs in the air and plant them where they fall to make them look like they grow there naturally.

Bulbs are perfect for filling gaps in your borders, blending with perennials or shrubs and rejuvenating your garden with their bright colours early in the year.

Try growing groups of early-flowering bulbs like tulips in a bed which will be occupied by annuals later in the summer, this ensures your garden keeps its beautiful display for longer.

If you have trees in your garden, try planting the bulbs at the bottom of the tree, the soil is usually moist and light which is perfect for growing bulbs, the colourful display will distract from those bare-branches.  Bluebells and crocus are perfect for planting under trees. Create your own bluebell carpet under your favourite tree.

 

Planting in Pots

Bulbs look just as good in pots. You can keep it simple by planting just one variety in each pot or you can mix it up a little by planting several varieties together. It’s tricky to get all the flowers to appear at the same time, but varied flowering is part of the excitement of planting bulbs.

You can use any normal soil but make sure it has good drainage by adding grit if necessary.

Bulbs in pots need more care than those in soil, keep the compost moist by watering after planting and if you’re worried about your bulbs in the first frosts, cover with bubble wrap.

Choose a pot that is big enough and will compliment your chosen bulbs.  More bulbs can be planted in larger pots by layering. Use soil as normal, making sure you add grit if drainage is poor. Bulbs flowering last in the season must always be planted at the bottom of the pot, the earlier flowering ones should be planted on top. A popular and effective layering combination starts with a layer of narcissi, then tulips and finally crocuses. This combination of bulbs gives you a rainbow of colour and a long flowering period.

An alternative is to bring some bulbs inside to brighten up your home. Simply ensure you chose bulbs specifically for indoor cultivation. The best bulbs to plant indoors are hyacinth with their beautiful scent, or daffodils such as Daffodil Tete a Tete which has delicate small flowers. Make sure you place your pot next to a sunny window, but make sure it doesn’t get too warm. Water your bulbs more frequently than if they were outside to keep the soil moist.

Finally, whether your planting your bulbs inside or out why not plant some primroses with your bulbs to ensure a beautiful display while you wait for your bulbs to blossom.

Click here for our full range of Bulbs, Tubers and Corms.


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