We can’t wait to share our bulb collection with you, but in the meantime, let’s get prepped for bulb life!
Nicknamed by the RHS as ‘the buried treasure of the garden’, bulbs may look unassuming, but they soon burst into life within a few months of planting and prove they are well worth the wait. An incredibly diverse group with a range of flower shapes, colours, sizes and seasons of interest, bulbs bring a spectacular show of blooms that no garden is complete without!
Tulips, Snowdrops and Lilies all grow from bulbs. They can bring joy to the smallest of patios, whilst a dramatic display can bring an explosion of interest that makes a statement in even the largest of borders. And the best bit? Anyone can grow beautiful bulbs with a little basic knowledge!
How Do I Plant Bulbs?
When to Plant Bulbs
Bulbs are planted when they are dormant. This depends on the time of year that bulbs bloom. Spring-flowering bulbs are planted in autumn. They die back and go dormant in summer. Summer-flowering bulbs, which die back and go dormant in winter, are planted in late spring. Bulbs that flower in autumn are best planted by late summer.
How to Plant Bulbs
With bulbs, it is important to plant them at the right depth. Planting too deep may result in only foliage and too shallow runs the risk of being dug up by accident, especially by animals. As a general rule, plant bulbs at three times their depth, although there are exceptions to be aware of, so always double-check!
Make sure you plant bulbs with the shoot facing upwards and the roots facing down. In borders, space bulbs two bulb widths apart and one bulb width apart in containers.
If you are planting in borders, aim to plant in at least groups of six – the larger the number, the more impressive the display will be!
You can even ‘naturalise’ bulbs by planting them under your grass. To add a low maintenance splash of colour to lawns, dig out the grass, plant bulbs as normal and replace the turf over the top. Grow a mixture of bulbs with a variety of flowering times and you will be rewarded for most of the year.
How Do I Look After Bulbs?
How Often Should I Water Bulbs?
Water newly planted bulbs to settle them in, and then regularly when in growth, keeping the soil moist. You should continue to water bulbs for six weeks after flowering.
How Do I Deadhead Bulbs?
You can remove flowers that have finished blooming by cutting them at the base of the stems. This will tidy up the plant and can even encourage further flowering in some species (win-win!). Removing spent flowers puts energy back into the bulb (instead of producing seeds) to improve the following display.
Top Tip: Although it’s best to let a bulb’s leaves die back naturally, if you see yellowing, fragile leaves after the bulb’s flowering season has ended, cut back the foliage.
How Do I Store Bulbs?
Some bulbs don’t need to be stored at all. Naturalised bulbs in lawns, or those planted in busy borders and containers, can stay where they are all year round.
For other areas of the garden, you may want to lift and store your bulbs. Bulbs could be in a space where there is a risk of damage from wildlife, or soil may have become waterlogged, running the risk of rotting bulbs. Or, you may have grown your bulbs in a pot that you want to reuse.
Tender bulbs should also be lifted and stored to avoid frost damage over winter.
When it’s time to lift, gently move your bulbs out of the soil. Clean the bulbs with water and rub off dry outer scales, then cut the roots back. Keep only your healthiest-looking bulbs to reduce the threat of disease.
Leave the bulbs to dry out on some newspaper or a tray. Once dry, transfer the bulbs to a labelled paper or mesh bag and store them in a dark place that is cool and dry.
On the whole, bulbs are generally easy to care for. The main thing is to keep an eye out for potential signs of disease or rot.
Bulbs naturally spread on their own, producing lots of extra plants for free! But sometimes they can become overcrowded. Overcrowded bulbs can easily be divided once the foliage dies back, to ensure they grow well and flower vigorously.
Keep your eyes peeled for our bulb collection, launching soon!