On Arrival â€“ Delivery
Flower bulbs should be removed from the outer packaging upon receipt of the goods and stored in a cool, dry and dark place with good air circulation.
Planting should be undertaken as soon as possible after the bulbs have been delivered. For optimum performance plant the flower bulbs in the correct conditions for maximum results, refer to our planting guide for recommendations on positioning, soil conditions and planting densities.
Preparing The Soil
Flowers are generally easy to grow, but they do need certain conditions to remain healthy and thrive.
Preparation of the soil is relatively simple, when ready clear any weeds and debris from the area, work the area over with a fork or spade to a depth of 30cm (12 inches), making sure the soil is fine and not clods.
Heavy and clay soils will benefit from the introduction of leaf mould or by adding course sand and well-rotted manure.
Sandy soil tends to drain to quickly, adding a plentiful application of organic matter will help moisture retention.
Flower bulbs enjoy well drained soils, but must have some moisture retention as bulbs are not deep rooted, a good handful of grit in the planting holes will ensure the bulbs do not sit in water and rot.
Flower bulbs are generally planted whilst they are dormant from late Summer. However, the bulbs natural growing cycle will result in shooting appearing from October onwards and has no detrimental effect on the bulb or the flowering performance. Snowdrops ideally should be planted by early December at the latest, while other bulbs can be planted well in to December. Later planting is possible, but the closer to the bulbs natural flowering period you plant the more the flowering performance will be affected in the first season.
With most flower bulbs it is obvious which end is the top (pointed end) and which is the base (they are usually flat with evidence of roots), however some types can be more difficult to judge. If in doubt plant them on their side and they will be just fine.
The simple rule is to plant the majority at a depth two and a half times their length. Example if a tulip is 5cm (2 Inches) long then the tip needs to be 10-15cm beneath the soil. The exceptions are Anemone nemerosa, simply firm in to the surface and cover with 2cm of soil and Cyclamen prefer to be planted just below the surface.
Remember it is better to plant to deep than to shallow.
Shallow planting â€“ This is generally in the warmer soil conditions and the bulbs can become cooked, impacting on performance and health.
Deep planting â€“ The bulbs may throw more leaf and insignificant flowers in the first season, either replant or they will sort themselves out the following season.
Flower Bulbs Planting Distance
The distance between bulbs varies depending on the ultimate size of the plant and its flowers, but they should be far enough apart so they are not touching. Tulips are happy to be planted 5cm apart while daffodils need more room to naturalise.
Generally for gardens plant bulbs in clusters of six to eight, this creates a far better display, or you can achieve a more natural effect by scattering the bulbs and planting where the bulb lands. Crocus and daffodils are perfect for this method.
Bulbs For Flower Beds
Planning your beds and borders is important when you are considering what to buy. There is a bulb type to suit every need and thrive amongst perennial roses as part of a bulb display or standalone plants.
Just remember to check our planting guide for the best varieties for your garden conditions.
Bulbs In Pots And Containers
Many varieties are suited for indoor culture and outdoor patio displays. In exposed areas and the home we suggest you check the height and spread before making your selection.
For children who love potting bulbs consider crocus and iris as they are easy to grow and flower early.
Indoors we suggest crocus, hyacinths (prepared), iris, miniature narcissi and dwarf tulips.
The skyâ€™s the limit, but taller species tend to get battered in windy conditions.
Bulbs In Lawns
Selecting flower bulbs for planting in your lawn is very important as it will depend on your desire to give the lawn its first cut.
It is essential that the foliage of your chosen bulbs has died right back before cutting as this is where the food source comes from to generate future growth.
Small early types are best suited, snowdrops, Winter aconites, crocus, dwarf iris and miniature narcissi. For a natural look scatter the bulbs and plant where they land, crocus, eranthis and snowdrops about 2 inches deep or peel back sections of turf using a spade and insert the bulbs and lay the turf back down.
Bulbs In Long Grass
Daffodils are ideal for low maintenance areas as they naturalise easily, but species such as bluebells, fritillaries, muscari are equally at home in these conditions. For later flowering use alliums and camassia.
Many public areas such as parks boast terrific displays of flower bulbs in Spring. The most effective species to use for impact and colour are tulips and tall alliums, whether as part of a design with pansies, polyanthus and violas or as a block of colour on their own.
When selecting plants for naturalising it is important to choose varieties that will generate healthy growth and flower production over a period of many years.
With little or no maintenance required naturalised bulbs make the perfect selection for meadows, woodlands, grass verges, riverbanks and even a small area of the garden.
Varieties that multiply and naturalise freely are bluebells, daffodils, eranthis, fritillaria and snowdrops.
Woodland areas need shade loving plants such as anemone nemerosa, allium ursinum, crocus, eranthis, early flowering daffodils and the ever popular snowdrop.
Squirrels and mice are the bain of many a gardener particularly in urban areas and will target certain bulb species as a food source. The rodents are attracted to the odour of the newly planted bulbs such as crocus, fritillaria and tulips, this can be masked by fresh bark chippings.
Butterflies and many of our endangered bee species enjoy the flowers of crocus, bluebells, alliums, eranthis, muscari and Ornithogalum as a natural food source in Winter through to early Summer.
A good selection of bulb types will ensure species of insects, butterflies and bees regenerate numbers as they are essential to our environment.
Caution: Bulbs can be toxic and should not be eaten. Some types may cause skin irritation therefore gloves should be worn.