Always a colourful gardenSummer flowering bulbs like amaryllis, begonia and gladioli are always planted in the spring. The best time to plant your summer bulbs outdoors is after all chance of frost has passed. You could of course plant them up in pots from the end of March – this will have them shooting up by May so they will flower earlier. Tulips, crocuses, alliums and hyacinths are your typical spring flowering bulbs. These need to be planted the previous autumn. Order your spring bulbs now and they will be delivered to you from the end of August. Some daffodils, lilies and irises can be planted in both spring and autumn. Begonias, gladiolas, crocuses and anemones are actually tubers and not bulbs but their care and use is, practically speaking, the same.
Planting bulbsYou can achieve wonderful results with bulbs in pots but they come into their own planted between perennials in the border. Flower bulbs are very easy to grow and will actually thrive in almost any type of soil. They will always flower the first year after planting but best results in the long term will be achieved if you plant them in a sunny spot in loose, fertile soil. So, before planting aerate the soil by loosening it with a fork and adding a mix of well-rotted manure or potting compost through it. This will ensure that your summer flowering bulbs thrive and allow extra water to easily drain off.
Dig a hole in the loose soil with your trowel and plant the bulbs gently in the hole, pointing upwards. Here’s a tip on how deep to plant bulbs - check the size of the bulb - the depth of the soil above the bulb should be twice as deep as the size of the bulb. So large bulbs like the dahlia are then often planted 15-20 cm deep and smaller bulbs like the freesia go at about 10 cm deep. Check the label on the pack for the best planting distance per bulb as this can vary from 3-20 cm. The planting depth is also shown on the label. Cover the bulb with soil and water them in if the soil isn’t already wet.