Planting Spring Flowering Bulbs

Planting Spring Flowering Bulbs

Bulbs brighten up early spring days when most of the garden is just beginning to wake up, and are versatile enough for either beds or planters. For the best show, get spring flowering bulbs in the ground before the end of September.

Read on for some of our best planting and growing tips:

What Kind of Bulbs to Plant for Spring Flowering

• Daffodils and Hyacinths should ideally be in the ground before the end of September. There is a huge variety to choose from, whether you like the standard large yellow flowers or prefer something smaller and daintier. Of course, you don’t have to choose — plant a variety of daffodil types for cheerful interest all around the garden. They’re good in beds, lawns or pots.
• Tulips can go in a bit later, around November time, but now’s a good time to scout out your favourite varieties in the shops. Leave it till later in the year and they will all be gone.
• Crocus — there are crocus types to suit everyone’s taste and they give a wonderful show in spring. They’re also very easy to grow, even for total beginners, and look lovely planted among grass or in beds.
• If you’ve got your eye also on the bulbs that flower a bit later in the year, crocosmia or alliums and lilies or instance, you’ll need to get those in the ground during September and October too.

Bulbs to Plant in the Shade

Not all bulbs need lots of sunlight to flower. In fact, some look lovely when planted beneath shady trees and can brighten up darker areas of the garden. Plant them in the same way you would any other bulbs. Some bulbs prefer sun, such as daffodils, and you may find those planted in shady areas are more spindly or weaker-looking than their sunny-sited cousins. Here are some good alternatives:

• Snowdrops - do well in partial shade and need plenty of moisture. They may not be great for growing beneath trees which take a lot of water and nutrients out of the soil, but are lovely in shady beds.
• Lily of the Valley — produce a lovely scent from white flowers that appear in late spring.
• Cyclamen coum — grow well in humus-rich soils with good drainage. They should flower between December and March, so not strictly spring flowering but will give a lovely burst of colour to shady areas.
• Scilla siberica or Siberian squill — have pretty bell-shaped flowers that are often blue. Like most, they prefer dappled shade rather than full, deep shade.

How to Choose and Plant Your Bulbs

Inspect each bulb before you buy it to make sure it’s healthy. It should be firm and plump and without any sign of mould or softness. Any bulbs that are smaller than others of the same variety may not flower in their first year of planting.

Prepare the ground before planting. Dig in plenty of compost or leaf mould, and consider horticultural grit if your soil is heavy. If you’re planting in pots, include a layer of crocks at the bottom for good drainage and use a compost suitable for bulbs.

Dig them in deep, around four times deeper than the size of the bulb. Most bulbs are relatively small, so you still won’t be digging large holes. Small crocus bulbs, for instance, only need to go down three or four inches.

Plant them with the nose pointing up and the roots pointing down. If you’re really not sure which way is up for your bulb, you can plant the bulb on its side. The stem will find its way out as it grows.

Our staff are happy to advise if you’re stuck. We’re sure to have a bulb that’s just right for any situation.

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