Top tips for growing bulbs for next spring
Posted: January 17, 2017
Categories: Grow Your Own
Planting bulbs is one of the easiest gardening tasks, yet it can result in some of the most effective displays in spring. All you need to do is select the right bulbs for you and there are many to choose from. These include favourites likeTulips and Daffodils as well as Hyacinths, Fritillarias and Crocus.
When should you begin to plant your bulbs?
- Spring flowering bulbs (Daffodils, Crocus, Hyacinths) – plant ideally late September, but you can plant between October to December before frost starts to form.
- Summer flowering bulbs (Lillies, Gladioli) – Plant in March to early April.
- Autumn flowering bulbs (Dahlia, Begonia) – Plant late-July into September.
Best locations to plant your spring bulbs
Generally, spring bulbs like a warm and sunny area in your garden, but your soil must have really good drainage to ensure roots aren't crushed during winter. If you have clay soil you may need to dig out and add a layer of aggregate, followed by good quality compost (ideally home made) to improve drainage.
If planting on a terrace or balcony, make sure it isn't too shady. Your choice of container such as a garden planter, is also important and it needs to be a suitable size to house your bulbs. Always use good compost and add a layer of grit or stones to the bottom of your planter to aid drainage. Water often and protect from frost during winter, as this can damage the roots.
- Drainage is important as poorly draining soil can freeze in cold weather, damaging your bulbs root system.
- When buying bulbs, generally bigger bulbs will yield more flowers.
- You could plant bulbs in random clumps of 6-10 (1 bulb length apart) to create a colourful highlight whenthey flower.
- For ease, you could use a special bulb planting tool or dig a hole roughly as wide as the bulb and aim to have around 10 cm of soil above.
- In a planter, you can plant the bulbs fairly close together. One bulb length apart and three times theirheight deep. To help next years flowering potential, use fertilizer every couple of weeks once they start to grow shoots, until the leaves fade.
- Don't be tempted to cut back leaves or tie them up – you need to let them photosynthesis as much as possible to replenish their energy stores for next year.
Hints and tips
- When choosing bulbs and before planting, check that they are healthy and not rotting
- Be warned, squirrels will try to dig up your bulbs so you may need to cover or use chicken-wire
- Slugs and snails also love to snack on your daffy's, so surround them with coffee grounds