Top 10 tips for planting bulbs this season

If you’re interested in creating a lovely colourful display for the garden or simply want to have some attractive potted flowers, then one of the easiest and best ways is to plant some lovely flowering bulbs.

It really is a very straightforward process that doesn’t actually require much work, but here are some useful tips to bear in mind to get the best results possible.

1. Prepare before planting

If you’re planting out in the garden, remove any weeds and add some natural compost or other similar organic matter. For potted flower bulbs, drainage is very important , therefore put lots of crocks in the bottom of the pot. Heavy soils will require horticultural grit, but specialised bulb composts aren’t usually necessary and likely of not much real benefit.

2. Right place, right time

Now that you have the right place ready and prepared, you’ll need to get the timing right as well. Bulbs have to be planted in advance of their season; so spring-flowering bulbs should be planted in the autumn.

3. Buy the right bulbs

Try to buy your bulbs as fresh as possible; even though many have long dormant periods, you do not want to be seeing any signs of rot or disease in them. The best and healthiest bulbs should feel quite dry and firm to the touch with no signs of mould or damage. Avoid shrivelled and soft bulbs as they are most likely well past their best.

4. Don’t be sparing with quantity

Because bulbs are some of the cheapest plants on offer, don’t be afraid to buy several different varieties to try as there’s really not much to lose. Although you can lift, store and replant certain flowers such as tulips, fresh flower bulbs are unbeatable and usually quite reliable when compared to seeds.

5. Plant bulbs correctly

As a general rule, the hole should be three to four times as deep as the bulb itself and around two bulb widths apart. Don’t push down on them too hard and have the bulb facing up to give the plant its best chance of success. If you’re unsure, place the bulb on its side and the stem will likely do the rest.

6. Consider the size of pot

If you’re planting your bulbs in a pot, make sure it is big enough for the roots to develop and spread out properly. You may want to grow them in a plastic pot and then switch to a terracotta one once the bulbs are over a certain size and more established.

7. Mark where you planted

If you’re not a fan of plastic plant labels, use a more discreet and attractive wooden sign instead. The last thing you want to do is to spear a bulb when you are trying to find it.

8. Pay close attention

Bulbs in soil can usually be left well alone, although it is a good idea to wrap plants with bubble wrap over the winter months, dependent upon variety. Potted bulbs require a bit more attention, so make sure the compost is kept moist but do not over-water.

9. Protect against pests

As soon as you plant your bulbs, common pests like squirrels, mice and voles will look to penetrate the soft soil, so place some chicken wire over the pot or garden. You’ll also have to be mindful of ever-present slugs and snails. And don’t forget your dog if you have one, many of them like nothing better than to dig and make a mess of everything!

10. Do not overdo it

While massed plantings of different varieties can look really great, be careful when it comes to pots and window boxes. Do not have more than two layers of bulbs as flowering plants alongside dying ones is really not going to be a pretty sight!

More resources about planting and gardening can be found on the National Gardening Association website.

If you are looking to buy quality bulbs online or need more gardening hints and tips then has a helpful blog and much more on offer for you to see before you decide to buy.

Thanks for reading and happy planting out this coming season!

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