How To Plant Bulbs In The Green

Planting late winter and early spring bulbs in the green, whilst they are in leaf and growing, can help to ensure their success. With bulbs in the green, you can easily see where they have been planted and they will typically establish and flower faster than bulbs planted in autumn.

Bluebells, aconites and snowdrops are some of the plants which are best transplanted whilst active and in the green. If you are thinking of planting active bulbs, read on to find out how you should plant bulbs in the green in order to achieve the best results.

Be prepared

Start planning and preparing where you want to plant your bulbs well before you have them. Remove perennial weed roots and debris from the planting area, and add well-rotted manure or garden compost, about 15cm beneath the surface, to enrich the soil. The sooner in advance that you do this, the better, as the soil will have longer to settle.

Plant your bulbs

Once you have your bulbs, you will need to plant them as soon as possible. If they are going to be kept unplanted for a few days, make sure that they are kept cool and are sprayed with rainwater daily. Be aware that bulbs in the green are fragile so need careful handling.

Plant your bulbs to roughly the same depth they were planted before lifting. You will be able to tell how deeply they were planted as where it was underground before will be white. If you are unsure, then do not plant them too deep, no more than 8-10cm below the surface.

Spread them out

When planting bulbs in the green, make sure you leave plenty of room between bulbs to allow them to proliferate and form clumps in future. Aconites and snowdrops should be planted around 6-8cm apart, and bluebells should be around 10cm apart.

Be patient

You may not see flowers this coming year as the moving and planting of the bulbs is stressful for the plants. However, you are sure to see a much better display the following year. Bulbs in the green settle in well, and they subdivide and multiply 1-2 years sooner than bulbs planted in autumn would. This makes them excellent for naturalising in lawns or forest floors.

Divide clumps

Rejuvenate clumps every 3 years, or whenever you see that they have become overgrown and congested, by dividing them. You will get the best results by moving them whilst they are plump and producing roots in the spring, rather than in the autumn when they will be dry. The new bulbs could be potted up, planted elsewhere, or replanted nearby to create drifts.

For more information about bulbs in the green or for professional advice in selecting the best bulbs for your garden, please contact our knowledgeable team at Boston Bulbs by calling 01775 769333, or email us at

The Boston Bulb Company has over 40 years of experience in supplying only the finest quality horticultural products from farmers and growers throughout the UK and Europe.

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