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Bulbs are an important element in any garden, providing vibrant bursts of colour not only during spring but throughout the entire year. Here is a comprehensive guide to bloom times and how to plant your bulbs:

When to plant bulbs...

The time for planting bulbs varies according to their flowering season. A general rule to follow is:

  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs in autumn
  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs in spring
  • Plant autumn & winter-flowering bulbs from late spring to summer

Plant in Autumn

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Plant in Spring

Calla Lily
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Plant in Summer

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Where to plant bulbs...

Grow very well in pots:

  • Allium
  • Narcissus
  • Snowdrop
  • Tulip

Can grow in partial shade:

  • Anemone
  • Bluebell
  • Cyclamen
  • Galanthus

Work well in the border:

  • Camassia
  • Dahlia
  • Erythronium
  • Nerine


Other places to grow bulbs include:

  • Lawns
  • Wildflower meadows
  • Base of trees
  • Formal plant scheme

How to plant bulbs in the ground...

When planting bulbs, it is important to plant them at the right depth.

Bulbs that are planted too deep may only produce foliage or not emerge at all, however, planting too deep is better than too shallow.

Bulbs are at risk of being dug up accidentally, or by wildlife.

Generally, the rule of thumb is to plant bulbs three times their depth. However there are exceptions so its best to check the packaging first.

  1. Dig a hole wide and deep enough for your bulbs, using a trowel or bulb planter
  2. Place the bulbs in the hole with their pointed end facing upwards. Space bulbs at least twice the bulbs’ width apart
  3. Fill the hole back in and water (if you’re planting in autumn and the soil is already moist there is no need to water straight away)

Top tip:

If you are planting straight into the ground and you have heavy soil try to improve the soil’s drainage. You can use well-rotted organic matter such as garden compost or well-rotted manure. You can also add horticultural grit or sand at the base of each planting hole.

If you’re planting your bulbs into containers click here for a guide to creating your own bulb lasagne for making the most of the season.

A Guide to Bloom Times…