Bulb Frequently Asked Questions

While bulbs are phenomenally easy to plant and enjoy, there are a few rules and questions that crop up when we go to plant them. 

Below are a few questions and answers, but if you have any more on specific types of bulb, please email me and I will do my best to help. 

What are spring

flowering bulbs?

Some Spring flowering bulbs:

• Daffodils and Narcissi

• Alliums and Ranaculus

• Hyacinth and Muscari (grape hyacinth)

• Crocus and Snowdrops

• Tulips and Iris - and their dwarf varieties 

• Bluebells and Lilly of the Valley

• Fritillaria

When do I plant spring flowering bulbs ?

Plant spring flowering bulbs in the Autumn - ideally from September to the end of November. 

Ideally they need to be in the ground 6 weeks before any hard frost comes. 

How do I plant bulbs in a pot for a spring display?

• Grab a pot.

• Put some crock or gravel for drainage in the base, put a 2 inch layer of bulb compost or potting compost in. Tap the pot to remove air pockets. 

• Position your bulbs with the pointy end up and roots down. 

• Make sure that the bulbs do not touch as they swell up. Leave about a gap about 2-3 times the width of the bulbs around each one. 

• Cover with another 2 inches of soil and top with grit or sand. 

• Water and leave in a sheltered part of your garden. 

• Wait for spring!

How do I plant spring bulbs in a Pot Lasagne?

Spring bulbs look amazing in lasagne pot arrangements 

choose successional flowering bulbs for a look that could last from Feb - April. 

• Grab a good size pot

• Put some crock in the base

• Put a 2 inch layer of potting compost in.Tap the pot to remove air pockets.

• Place your latest flowering bulbs in (Tulips or Daffodils are perfect)

• Cover with 2 inches of potting compost 

• Place mid season flowering bulbs in now (Hyacinths or Narcissi are perfect)

• Cover with 2 inches of potting compost

• Place small early flowering bulbs in (Muscari, Crocus and Snowdrops are perfect) 

• Cover with 2 inches of potting compost and a layer of grit or sand. 

• Alternatively plant winter flowers in the top (winter pansies, cyclamen or a hellebore or winter rose are perfect)

• Water and place outside. 

How do I plant spring bulbs in a border or lawn?

Spring bulbs ideally need to be three times deeper than themselves in a border or lawn situation. Use a trowel or bulb planter to make a hole, pop them in (pointy end up and roots down) and cover over. You can plant perennial plants over the top of bulbs if you like. The bulbs should establish on a couple of seasons and eventually naturalise to give a clump of beautiful flowers that come back year after year. 

 

For planting in lawns, take a handful of bulbs and thrown on to the grass, plant where they fall for a more natural feel. 

Plant them at their preferred depth and check if they prefer sun, shade and what sort of shelter from the wind they require.  

How do I deal with spring plants when they have finished flowering?

Spring bulbs do best when they are deadheaded as the Spring progresses and their leaves are left for as long as possible 4-6 weeks is enough. This ensures that the plant can recover its energy reserves for next year and produce even more flowers. The bulbs will also be expanding and dividing to create a clump of flowers for next year. 

Some tulips will not flower the following year, so should be dug up and removed to avoid a disappointed gardener. 

Some spring bulbs such as Muscari may divide too rapidly for some gardens to take, so can be dug up and moved to other parts of the garden without too much trouble.

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