How to be a Great Little Gardener Episode 9: How to Plant Bulbs


The transcript of the video, shopping ideas and other tips are below the video.

In this episode, garden expert Phil McCann gives you his top tips for how to plant bulbs - a simple yet effective way to create a beautiful garden even for the beginner. 

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Bulbs are terrific plant structures because within every bulb there is everything it needs to produce a flower. I have cut this daffodil open, and you can see the embryonic leaves and even the tiny little flower shoot in there that will appear in April.

And they are ever so easy to grow in containers. Container with drainage holes, bit of drainage at the bottom just to stop the compost from running out through those holes. Then, have a go at this, quality compost, get a layer in and firm it down. It is lasagne planting and it’s your first layer of bulbs. Daffodils, ideally, they go three times as deep as the height of the bulb. So that is there, one, two, three and that is about there. So, if I - can you see that? - let me just nuzzle those into the compost. Now I am not skimping as I want this container to explode with colour.

Then, cover them up with a layer of compost and firm it down, and then the next layer of the lasagne. Tulips, look at that beautiful one for this year, I’ll show you those.  Put those on top. Now it doesn’t matter if they are actually directly above because you can’t tell at this point because you have covered them up with soil. But the shoots will just grow and will make their way up. Guess what? Compost, cover those up and firm it down.

Crocus, getting near the top now. They are lovely and you get a lot of them in there as well. These are the big flowering now. Oh and put the bulb’s flat bit at the bottom and the pointy end up, and that is all you need to know. Push those in, there are quite a few of those, and again they will flower next year. But the great thing about this is that they all flower at slightly different times.

So, your crocus, as they haven’t got as far to grow and as they are smaller bulbs as well, cover those up, will start flowering at about February or March.  And then once they start to fade away, your daffodils kick in and that is April sorted. And as they start to fade away, from the same container your tulips will start growing. 

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Top Tips:

John Innes is a name given to a formula of compost that includes sterilised loam. It gives the compost a bit of 'oomph' or body! It means it retains water better and is actually a heavier compost than those without John Innes.

If you are planting directly into your borders, the RHS Endorsed Stainless Steel Bulb Planter above is a great tool to use. It will help you remove the right amount of soil, creating the perfect spot for your bulb.

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