What bulbs to plant ‘now’ for a ‘good flowering’ next year

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Bulbs are useful for adding colour to spring borders and are super easy to take care of. According to the RHS, spring-flowering bulbs include tulips which come in a variety of different shades. Other bulbs including snowdrops are some of the earliest flowering plants, brightening up the start of spring. 

When to plant bulbs

The RHS said spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinths should be planted before the end of September.

Hardy summer-flowering bulbs such as lilies, alliums and crocosmia should be planted in September and October, while tulips can be planted in November.

Where to plant bulbs

The RHS said: “Some bulbs need specific siting. Most hardy bulbs, including tulips and daffodils, prefer a warm, sunny site with good drainage as they come from areas with dry summer climates.

“Bulbs from cool, moist, woodland habitats, such as Cardiocrinum, need similar garden conditions. 

“Improve light or sandy soils with garden compost and heavy soils with compost plus grit.”

Most bulbs are purchased when they are in a dormant state, and gardeners should plant these as soon as they acquire them.

The gardening experts said they may “flower poorly” following later than recommended planting or after lengthy storage.

Gardeners should aim to plant bulbs in groups of at least six, as the more bulbs grouped together, the more impressive display.

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How to plant bulbs

The RHS said: “Dig a hole wide and deep enough for your bulbs. Plant most bulbs at two to three times their depth.

“For example, for a bulb measuring five centimetres high, dig a hole 10 to 15 centimetres deep and sit the bulb in the bottom of it.

“Place the bulbs in the hole with their nose, or shoot, facing upwards. Space them at least twice the bulb’s own width apart.”

Next, replace the soil and gently firm it with the back of a rake while avoiding treading on the soil, as this can damage the bulbs.

If the ground is moist, the RHS experts said watering is not critical. Otherwise, gardeners should water straight after planting.

Most bulbs are ideal for growing in containers, and can add a touch of colour to the smallest of gardens.

Container flowers are best suited to those with large flowers such as tulips, lilies, and alliums.

For bulbs only going to spend one season in their container, the experts recommended using three parts multi-purpose compost with one part grit.

They should be planted three times their depth and one bulb width apart from each other.

The RHS said: “To promote good flowering next year, feed the bulbs every seven to 10 days with a high-potassium fertiliser such as a liquid tomato feed.

“Begin feeding as soon as shoots appear, and stop feeding once the foliage starts to die down at the end of the season.

“If you bring pots of hardy bulbs indoors during flowering, put them in a sheltered spot outside as soon as flowering is over.”

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