Although Spring is still months away, now is the time to think about planting your spring-flowering bulbs. Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinthus, and snowdrops, to name a few. They all need tucking in this autumn to allow them to spring forth in March and flower through till May. Here at Chepstow Garden centre we want to help you make the most of your bulbs this spring. Follow our 6 step guide on Spring flowering bulbs, helping you with your bulb journey.
1. I choose you!
How do you know what’s right for you and your garden? you may already have an idea of what you want, or you’re still looking for inspiration. You could re-create the tulip fields of Holland with rows of tulips in every radiant colour. Or create a natural meadow flow by placing your variety of bulbs in a sporadic pattern. Creating a contrasting but complementary array of colours.
When buying your bulbs check they aren’t soft, mouldy or look withered or shrivelled. These bulbs have gone off and are no longer viable for planting. If you would like lots of flowers, look for the larger bulbs. These may be much higher in price, but you will get a higher quantity of flowers from them. However, don’t discount smaller bulbs as they are still good. You may get smaller or fewer flowers to appear.
2. Location, Location, Location!
The majority of spring-flowering bulbs enjoy full sun. Do not discount all shaded spots in your garden. As these bulbs flower before trees are covered in leaves. So, some shaded spots may have more sun than later in the year. But most bulbs will thrive best in a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Pots, beds or containers, your options are limitless. If you plan to plant in a container look into more bold, centrepiece flowers. Flowers such as Tulips, Lilies or Alliums look great showcased in planted containers.
3. How do I know?
You’ve picked your bulbs and location but, now to make sure we plant them correctly and at the right time. Spring flowering bulbs should be planted between September and November. But check bulb packets for specific instructions. When planting your bulbs general rule of thumb is to plant your bulbs three times as deep as the diameter of the bulb itself. You can use a bulb planter to help ensure you are planting your bulbs deep enough.
Also, make sure to place your bulbs at least a bulbs width apart. Now check you are planting your bulb right side up; most bulbs have an obvious top and bottom. If you do struggle to tell which end is the top plant your bulb on its side. This will allow the stem to find its way to the surface.
If you are planting in a border or bed, make sure when replacing the soil to firm down with the back of a rake and not tread on the soil as this will damage the bulbs. If the soil is dry after planting water, straight after if not, leave until the soil is dryer.
If you decide to plant in a container, consider if your bulbs are doing one season or long term. If only one season, plant your bulbs in 3 parts multipurpose and one part grit. If they’re long term, plant your bulbs in 3 parts john Innes no.2 and one part grit.
4. Under my protection
There’s nothing worse than your hard work being wasted because of pests and diseases. The ones to look out for are squirrels, mice, and rats. If you encounter this problem, you can cover your bulbs in hardware cloth. A metal fabric that allows your plants roots and stems to grow through but stops pests from reaching the bulbs. Dastardly disease to watch out for grey mould, basal rot, and tulip fire. Remove any diseased flowers or leaves. Spray plants with disease control spray such as bug clear.
5. Garden Grand Design
Before you speed off in excitement to plant your bulbs, consider the look you aiming to achieve. Are you a fan of the natural look, plant your bulbs in drifts. Toss your bulbs in the air and dig where they land. Or plant bulbs in odd numbers, this helps create the illusions of natural gardening. Or if uniformity is your style why not take inspiration from the tulip fields of Holland. With the vast range of colours and varieties of spring-flowering bulbs. You can create a sensational display in any garden.
6. When all is said and done!
Once your bulbs have flowered and are starting to wither down, what is next? Keep watering with general multipurpose fertiliser and take off any remaining flowers to help redirect the bulb’s energy into producing a good new bulb. Once all your leaves turn yellow take the bulbs up using a bulb tray, sift off the excess dirt.
Clean off any excess untill your left with a firm and clean bulb. Discard any bulbs that are soft, too small or showing any signs of mould or disease. Store in a cool dry place and keep in a paper bag or net. If you decide to leave your bulbs in until next season, make sure to cut back any yellow foliage.
There you have it our guide to springtime bulbs, to help you through your bulb journey from start to finish. We here at Chepstow Garden Centre can’t wait to see your super springtime creations in the new year.
Phyllis says planning is always key! Try to mix the variety of bulbs you buy, to help add levels to your pots and beds. For example, Tulips are great for underplanting roses or growing through Muscari. Or Plant taller varieties of Allium add height to the back of a border .