How to Plant Spring Bulbs

The appearance of early spring flowers is when many of us breathe a sigh of relief. The dark days of winter are nearly over. Be they dancing daffodils, pure snowdrops or vibrant tulips, spring bulbs bring a welcome promise of longer, warmer days.

Spring bulbs are nothing if not versatile. They will happily grow in containers, borders, through grass and under trees. And of course, some can be forced to flower indoors at Christmas.

Simple to grow and needing little aftercare your spring bulbs will do well if you follow these simple tips:

Depth

As a rule, plant your bulbs at least twice as deep as their height. So, a bulb that is 5cm tall will do best planted at a depth of 10cm. The exception being tulip bulbs. When planting tulip bulbs dig deep, planting at a depth of about 20cm will ensure they don’t get slugged and will encourage flowering year after year.

Pots & Containers

Plant your bulbs in ordinary plastic pots that will in turn fit inside your larger, more attractive containers. Then, when they’ve finished flowering they can be removed leaving the container ready for summer planting.

When planting in fairly deep containers, try layering your bulbs. Start by placing the largest bulbs at the bottom, add a layer of compost and then the next sized bulbs. Repeat until you have the placed the smallest bulbs at the top, covered with a layer of compost.Even just 2 layers will give good flowering impact.

Bulbs don’t like to have damp bottoms (does anyone?) so make sure pots and containers have plenty of drainage holes. When planting direct in the garden choose a well-drained spot where the soil is rich with hummus.

Planting Direct

When planting direct go for a natural look as opposed to planting in rows. The best way of achieving this is to gently roll a handful of bulbs over the soil and plant where they land.

If planting in a lawn remember that bulb foliage needs to be left to die down naturally. This will delay your lawn mowing activity so perhaps choose a spot where a clump of longer grass mixed with dying bulb foliage won’t look too bad. Alternatively, go ahead and mow, replacing the bulbs in the autumn.

Allowing bulbs to self-seed beneath trees and amongst shrubs means they will naturalise into drifts of stunning colour. Choose from cyclamen, snowdrops, crocus, anemone, fritillaria and daffodil.

To avoid digging the bulbs up by accident or worse, spearing them with a fork, do mark where they are planted.

Tulips

Tulips are best planted late, in November or even into December. And remember, plant them deep.