Provided you follow a few simple steps when you plant them, flower bulbs and tubers offer one of the easiest ways to create a riot of glorious colour and scent each year. Here’s how to get your bulbs off to a great start.
Having purchased your bulbs, you’ll probably be itching to get them into the ground. But in case you’re struggling to find time, the best way to store bulbs is to open the packaging to stop moisture build up, and to put them in a cool, dry, frost-free place until you’re ready to get planting.
Bulbs love fertile, well-drained soil, and a sunny, sheltered location, but many of the hardier varieties will also thrive in sub-optimal conditions as long as the ground isn’t too soggy. Make sure you check the planting instructions for each pack of bulbs as directions may vary.
Before planting your bulbs, it's a good idea to work the soil with a fork, breaking up any compacted clods to make it easy for new roots to grow. At the same time, give the ground a thorough weeding to get rid of competing weeds. Add some well-rotted compost at this stage to give your bulbs plenty of nutrients to draw on as they grow.
Whether you’re planting your bulbs into the ground or creating container displays, plant them with the pointy tip facing up, at a depth equal to three times the height of the bulb itself. There are a couple of exceptions to this – cyclamen and begonia tubers should be planted just at the soil surface and, in the case of begonias, you should start them off in pots indoors.
Once planted, gently firm the soil around each bulb to squeeze out any air pockets and water sparingly. Make sure you mark the ground with a suitable tag so you don’t disturb them. Now all you need to do is wait for the sunshine to wake them up.
We hope this has given you the confidence to plant a wide variety of bulbs. Find out more about growing spring flowering displays, including variety reviews and top growing tips, at our spring flowering bulbs hub page.