How to Plant Garden Bulbs

Planting and growing bulbs in the garden, or indeed in containers is usually very easy. If you know when to plant you are usually on the way. Bulb catalogues from suppliers sometime have some information, we supply detailed planting advice in each bulb variety section, listed below.

Often divided into seasons, of flowering bulbs are some of the most widely used plants in the garden. Most are deciduous and seasonal, many are very hardy and some are difficult.

However the gardeners love affair with bulbous plants has been going on ever since the first adventures and botanists collected bulbs from Africa, the Mediterranean and Asia and took them back to Europe. And of course many bulbs native to America are also included.

So we can go back in time to the early 1500s and bulbs were being collected from all over the world for gardens in Europe. Now we have access to some of the best bulb nurseries in the world right here at home.

General Care and Conditions

Nearly all bulbs require a sunny well drained soil and humus rich moist soil, that is a very broad care requirement. As we get into individual species things become a little difficult, as some bulbs come from areas of summer rain, others from winter rain and then we have drainage.

Some bulbs, particularly those from South Africa require perfect drainage, others cope more readily with conditions. Some like alkaline soils, others acidic. Some require full sun, others part shade.

So with all bulbs a study of the natural growing conditions and climate will give a clue as to proper care.We often here about ‘winter chilling’ of bulbs, this generally refers to those that come from areas of very cold winters, they require that to flower properly.

Planting Garden Bulbs

The how and when to plant bulbs will vary depending on variety, flowering time and the natural growth habit of the particular bulb. A few general rules do apply, however even these are not correct for many of the South African and South American Bulbs.

  • Plant 2- 4 times as deep as the bulb is high (except for those that need to be surface planted).
  • Plant when dormant
  • Plant in clumps, they tend to look better
  • Choose the right position, sun or shade
  • Consider growing in containers
  • Naturalise into lawns
  • Always select firm large bulbs

Types of Garden Bulbs

Some of the more popular varieties include :