Bulbs are useful for adding colour to spring borders. Bulbs, such as Snowdrops are some of the earliest flowering plants in the garden, brightening up the garden in early spring.
Bulbs such as English Bluebells and Wood Anemone can do well in shade. Snakeshead Fritillary suits damp ground whilst Native Daffodils like sunnier spots. They extend the flowering season from early spring until the Wild Flower Meadow starts.
When You Should Plant Bulbs
- Plant spring-flowering bulbs, such as Daffodils, Bluebells, Fritillary ideally in September or by middle of October.
- Plant in the green such as Snowdrops.
Where to plant bulbs
Some bulbs need specific sites
- Most hardy bulbs such as daffodils, prefer a warm, sunny site with good drainage.
- Some bulbs such as Bluebells, Snowdrops, Wood Anemone and Wild Garlic prefer semi shaded plots.
How to plant bulbs
Most bulbs are supplied and planted when dry. They are in a dormant, leafless state. Plant as soon as possible after receipt. They may flower poorly if they are planted later than recommended or if stored for a long time
Planting in groups
Aim to plant in groups of at least six to 10, as the more bulbs are grouped together, the better the display. Typically, 40 to 50 bulbs may be needed to make an impressive show.
These methods apply to all flowering bulbs:
1. Dig a hole wide and deep enough for your bulbs. Work out the planting depth by roughly measuring the bulb from base to tip and doubling or tripling this length – this figure is the rough planting depth
2. Place the bulbs in the hole with their ‘nose’, or shoot, facing upwards. Space them at least twice the bulb’s own width apart
3. Replace the soil and gently firm with the back of a rake. Avoid treading on the soil as this can damage the bulbs
1. Clear an area of any weeds or dead material and some of the grass
2. Spread the bulbs randomly over the area you want to plant them in. Dig holes 2 to 3 times in depth of the size of the bulbs. Drop the bulbs in with their shoot pointing upwards. Cover them back and lightly rake the area.
Some bulbs, such as winter aconites and snowdrops are thought to be best planted, moved or divided ‘in the green’ this is in the spring.
There aren’t many problems to watch out for, apart from checking that the bulbs are healthy to start with (discarding any that are soft or show signs of rot). However, pests to look for include slugs, snails and squirrels.