A guide to Planting Bulbs

Views 4 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful

A guide to Planting Bulbs.

Spring Planting

Summer flowering-
JUNE- Lily, Asiatic hybrid, Small-flowering gladioli, Anemone de Caen, single flowers, Good Luck plant, Oxalis deppei, Ranunculus, Sparaxis
JULY- Trumpet lily, large-flowering gladioli, Hymenocallis, Chincherinchee, Ornithogalum thyrsoides, Tiger flower, Tigridia, Calla lily, Zantedeschia, Begonia
AUGUST TO HARD FROSTS- Freesia, Speciosurn lily, Dahlia, various types, Ethiopian gladioli, Acidanthera, Pineapple plant, Eucomis, Indian Reed flower, Canna, Summer hyacinth, Galtonia candicans, Montbretia

General guidance

Planting period-
Planting may begin as soon as the danger of severe frost is over and continue through May.

Planting locations-
Summer-flowering bulbs generally bloom best in sunny places but lilies and begonias thrive equally well in partial shade.

After planting keep the soil moist, especially during dry periods.

Superior bloom is achieved by supporting tall-stemmed gladioli and dahlias with sliding support rings or stout canes.

Several years of flowering-
Most Summer-flowering bulbs and corms with the exception of lilies, alstroemeria, galtonia, liatris are susceptible to frost. When they are lifted from the soil in autumn, kept dry and frost-proof during winter, they can be replanted in spring for another season of bloom. The range of dahlia forms is extensive, divided into distinct groups, each group name generally describing the shape of the flower. In addition to the ordinary dahlias, medium-high types such as Anemone-flowering and Collerette dahlias are available. These are highly decorative in beds and borders as well as being most rewarding as cut flowers. Mignon dahlias make superb showings in outdoor containers. Remove faded heads to extend flowering. Lily bulbs can be planted either in autumn of in early spring and they prefer a rich and moisture-retaining soil. They will go on flowering for many years in the same sites and are well suited for interplanting with low-growing perennials and shrubs. Colours now available include orange, red, pink, yellow and white.

Autumn Planting

Spring Flowering-
FEBRUARY/MARCH- Snowdrop, Galanthus, Winter aconite, Eranthis, Iris reticulata, Iris danfordiae, Anemone blanda, Crocus botanical, Crocus large flowering, Puschkinia, Daffodil botanical trumpet and large-cupped, botanical tulip, Scilla siberica, Scilla tubergeniana, Spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum

Tulip single and double, Triumph and Darwin-hybrid, Lily-flowering and Parrot, Daffodil small-cupped, Poetaz and double, Grape hyacinth, Muscari, Crown imperial, Fritillaria imperialis, Hyacinth, Ornamental onion, Allium aflatunense, Allium karataviense, Star of Bethlehem, Ornithogalun, Summer snowflake, Leucojum aestivum

Bluebell, Scilla campanulata, Camassia, Sparaxis, Ornamental onion, Allium moly, Allium oreophilum, Allium giganteum, Allium sphaerocephalon, Brodiaea, Dutch Iris, Foxtail lily, Eremurus, Ixia


small fl.gladioli

good luck plant



large fl. gladioli



August to hard frosts







botanical tulip


trumpet daffodil


darwin hybrid tulip


dutch iris


ornamental onion

General guidance

There are two ways, i.e. either individual planting - a hole being made for each bulb, or a bed can be made up by digging the soil out to the required depth. A rule of thumb for depth of planting is to plant the bulbs twice their own depth. There is an alternative you can follow. With large bulbs such as narcissus, tulip and hyacinth, the lower end of the bulb (flat side) should be 15-20 cm down, with smaller bulbs, such as snowdrop and crocus, 10 cm down. The soil should be friable. The bed is then evened up. Place the bulbs at a reasonable distance from each other, large bulbs about 12 cm apart, small bulbs about 10cm. Cover the bulbs with the dug out soil and water immediately so that growth can start. In a heavy frost a layer of peat or leaf mould is recommended. This will also prevent the soil from drying out.

Bulbs can be used for producing cut flowers, in borders, for growing informally under trees and shrubs, for naturalizing in grass, and in outdoor containers. All colours are available, from red to yellow, from white to deep purple. When mixing bulbs try to keep tall flowers like tulips at the back of the border and small bulbs such as crocuses at the front. To maintain colour in the garden from February through to November you must know when and where the bulbs will bloom. The sequence of flowering is the same each year. But because nature is capricious, spring will not always start at the same time each year. And naturally, bulbs will bloom earlier in some parts of each country than in others.

Many months of colour-
Bulbs flower practically the whole year through, from February to November. Bulbs planted in the autumn bloom from the middle of winter (snowdrops) to July (Dutch iris). In spring plant begonias, lilies and dahlias. These flower until the late autumn.

What to plant-
As far as possible, group colours and varieties together. For example, 10 to 15 tulips, 7 to 10 hyacinths, 25 to 30 crocuses. It is better to achieve a mass of colour in part of the garden than plant one bulb here and there.

How to plant-
Clearing the bed is the most important. Any kind of soil is suitable provided it is well drained. On clay soil, the top layer should be mixed with sand, peat or compost. Flowering bulbs require no additional fertilizer.

Flower bulbs in containers

Range of containers-
Flower containers will always create a colourful effect, regardless of where they are situated. Use containers to create miniature gardens against bare walls, in open spaces halls and entrances. Planting containers is immensely popular nowadays. This is not very surprising as the range of flower containers, available in all kinds of different materials, sizes and shapes, makes for incredibly versatile mini-gardening.

Planting in containers-
For anyone gardening in containers flower bulbs are an ideal choice. With a minimum of attention they provide beauty both in full sun and partial shade. By selecting flower bulbs by their flowering period or by combining them with other plants, you can have containers full of flowers throughout the year. If you want to enjoy the colours of flower bulbs for as long a period as possible, plant different varieties in layers taking care not to plant bulbs directly over each other. Spring-flowering pansies or heather may be planted on top of the planted flower bulbs. Water the container after planting.

Proper drainage is all-important when planting flower bulbs in containers. Pierce holes every 15 cm with a diameter of at least 1 cm in the bottom of all containers used outside. Cover the holes with shards to prevent soil from clogging the holes after watering.

Soil or compost-
Both are suitable for use in containers. Compact the soil after filling the containers and ensure that the soil is moist (but not soaking wet). Make sure that the containers do not dry out.

Planting distance and depth-
Flower bulbs in containers can be planted closer together than outside in the garden. However, care must be taken that they do not touch each other or the container. When planting one layer, follow the rule for bulb planting depths in gardens, i.e. twice the bulb height. For a well-filled container, plant the flower bulbs in layers.

Protection from frost-
In areas suffering from severe frost, store the planted containers in a frost-free area during winter, or cover the containers that stay outside with straw or insulation material.








Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides