How To: Plant Spring Bulbs

Spring bulbs are a wonderful addition to any garden as they provide a range of beautiful colours during the spring season before any perennial flowers have a chance to bloom. From snowdrops and crocuses in late winter to daffodils and tulips in spring, there’s a wide range to choose from when it comes to planting bulbs. With a little planning, you can enjoy flowering bulbs from February all the way through to May.

How To: Plant Spring Bulbs

When To Plant Spring Bulbs

Most spring-flowering bulbs should ideally be planted around September and October whilst the soil is still warm and the bulbs have an opportunity to develop roots before becoming dormant throughout the winter season. There is an exception to this rule, however. Tulip bulbs should be planted in November to prevent a fungal disease called Tulip Fire. If you’ve forgotten to plant bulbs in September or October, don’t worry, as you can usually plant spring bulbs as late as December without any problems. This just means they may bloom a little later than expected – just make sure they’re in the ground before January.

Planting Bulbs in the Ground

Bulbs will thrive in well-drained soils. If your soil is heavy you can add some horticultural grit or sand at the base of each planting hole to improve the drainage. To plant your bulbs, simply dig small holes that are wide and deep enough for your bulbs. The holes should be around 2-3 times their depth. Place the bulbs with their pointed end facing upwards and space them at least twice the width of the bulb apart. Lastly, fill in the holes and give the area some water if the soil is dry.

How To: Plant Spring Bulbs

Planting Bulbs in Pots

For bulbs that are to be planted in pots, they can be planted less deeply and a little closer together. Start by adding some broken crockery or stones to the bottom of your pots to improve drainage along with some peat-free, multi-purpose compost leaving about 5cm at the top. Add in the bulbs of your choice, pointed end up and around 1-2 cm apart. Lastly, top up the pots with compost and water them well.

Potential Issues With Bulbs

Bulbs tend to be fairly problem-free, however, it’s best to check over your bulbs before planting them. Some issues can include soft or rotted bulbs and a few diseases. Animals to look out for are slugs, snails and squirrels (particularly if you have tulips or crocuses. It is also possible that new bulbs don’t perform as expected in their first year – not flowering or short flower stalks for example – but if they’re the type of bulb that comes back year after year they should improve. Try adding some balanced fertiliser into the soil when planting them.

Some suggest it’s worth soaking spring bulbs before planting them, but there’s no need to soak them if you are able to plant them in September or October. But if you are late getting them into the ground then soaking them for 12-24 hours can help speed up the rooting process. If you would like any further guidance on planting bulbs in your garden this Autumn, then the friendly team at Holt Garden Centre are on hand to help.

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