Design and plant a brilliant display of bulbs that is timed to burst into bloom as winter winds down
Extend the blooming spring showcase by planting bulbs with successional flowering periods
Autumn is the time of year to get busy planting spring flowering bulbs such as crocuses, daffodils and tulips.
Sow them in large groups in beds and borders, grow them in containers or naturalise them in the lawn. If you like to put them in vases, line them out in generous rows to make cutting easier.
In this article, we show you how to sow spring bulbs in a garden bed.
Choose bulbs according to the local climate, as different varieties have different needs.
In warm climate zones, hardy bulbs may not get the cold winter dormancy they need, so do a bit of research before you go shopping for bulbs and ask your local nursery about the best types for your area.
You can buy bulbs from garden centres or online specialist suppliers. A good way to find out what grows well in your garden is to buy a packet of mixed bulbs and plant them all.
Bulbs should feel heavy, not light or dried out, and firm when squeezed gently. They should also be free of nicks, soft spots and decay.
The right depth
When planting bulbs, the general guideline is to measure from tip to base and dig a hole two or three times deeper. There are exceptions to the rule, such as hippeastrums.
Use the chart below and for best results, plant a little deeper in light, sandy soil and less deep in heavy clay.
5. Grape Hyacinth
Planting bulbs in a bed
To sow a spring bed, dig a planting hole large enough for a group of bulbs or use a slim trowel to make an individual hole for each bulb.
Step 1. Position the bulbs
Position the bulbs with their pointy end upwards and at the correct depth for the variety. If planting in a clump, space bulbs at least their own width apart.
Step 2. Cover the bulbs
Cover the bulbs with soil, working carefully so you don’t knock them over. Firm the surface with the back of a rake and mark the spot so you don’t dig up the bulbs by accident.