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Bulb Project - A Guide

Bulb Project - A Guide

Spring Bulbs.... A simple, quick way to get bursts of colour all the way through to the summer.

Bulbs are a cheap, quick and easy way to plant flowers, you can dig your bulbs up at the end of the season, pop them in a dark place and then re-plant the following year, so your one-time purchase leads to many years of flowers!

But... do you find it can be a bit of a minefield? There are so many bulbs now, with so many variations/planting time/flowering times it can feel a little overwhelming! This is our bulb selection in store.

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So, we have put together a guide, based on questions we are often asked at the centre and hopefully it will help! If you have any further questions though, our plant team are extremely knowledgeable and will be happy to help. Either pop into the store or send us a message!

Planting Time/Flowering Time

The time to plant your Spring bulbs is... now! All our bulbs in store are ready to plant straight away. Generally. you can plant up until December as long as the ground is not frozen, Daffodils however, need to be planted by November.

Flowering time can be as early as January, to as late as June. The guide below will help you select the bulb perfect for when you want it to flower.

Planting Depth

Plant bulbs at a depth of around 2-3 times the height of the bulb. For example, if the bulb measures 5cm in height, it needs to be covered by 10-15cm of soil.

Display

Choose an area of the garden that has at least 3 hours of sunlight a day, with well-drained but moist soil for the best, and long-lasting flowers. For maximum impact displays, plant bulbs in groups, choosing the larger more showy flower heads such as tulips and aliums. For the herbaceaous border, early flowering bulbs such as daffodils, fritillarias or muscari will fill the border with colour before perennials and shrubs begin to grow.

Containers - Lasagna Planting

Most bulbs will grow well in a container, and can produce some excellent spring displays, for just a little work in the Autumn! One of our favourite ways of growing bulbs in a container is to lasagna plant them. This involves layering the bulbs, with the largest, late Spring flowering at the bottoms and filling the pot layer by layer with bulbs that will flower at different times. This produces a long-lasting colourful display for as many months as the bulbs you choose. At the centre, we have filled our container with crocus, daffodils and tulips, which will flower from January all the way through until May.

You can top your container with some winter-flowering plants such as cyclamen, violas or pansies for an even longer lasting display.

Steps For Lasagna Planting
1) Choose a large container and fill the base with a layer of gravel to allow for easy drainage (bulbs don't like to get too damp) and then cover with a layer of compost. We recommend Westlands Multi-Purpose with Added John Innes
2) Place your large, late-Spring blooming bulb such as Alliums on the bottom layer and cover with another layer of compost.
3) Now place your mid-Spring bulbs, such as tulips on this layer, and cover with compost again.
4) Finally place your early flowering bulbs, such as Crocus' on your final layer and cover with compost.
5) You can place mulch over the top, or plant with some winter-flowering plants.
6) Water well once straight after planting, and regularly when they are growing. During the winter simply check the container to ensure it hasn't dried out completely

You need enough bulbs to fill the container through each flowering period, but allow at least one bulb space between the bulbs in each layer, and try not to allow them to press against the sides of the container.

Finally, sit back and await your spectacular displays bringing us out of winter.

Hyacinths

Another bulb that we are asked about are Hyacinths. In-store we have two types, prepared and unprepared.  Prepared Hyacinths have been pre-chilled so that they 'think' it is Spring when they warm up indoors, flowering in late-December/January rather than March/April. These prepared bulbs can be grown outside as well, but they will flower as normal in March/April .

We also stock unprepared Hyacinths in packets. which will flower indoors in February (the warmth of the house causes the flower to bloom slightly earlier, or outside as normal in March or April.

When grown indoors it is important to place Hyacinth bulbs in a dark, dry area until the shoot is 5-10cm tall, when it can then be moved to its final location on display.

When planting bulbs inside in pots we suggest using a bulb compost, it is free draining, keeping the bulb from getting too wet, and also keeping air within the compost. 

Happy Bulb Gardening!

Fiona and Derek