Enjoy our recipe for spring flowering success - here's our top six bulbs to plant now
The long, hot summer is gradually fading away, making September and October the perfect time of year to plan a spring flowering display.
There's just one simple rule to follow: plant bountiful bulbs! Bulbs are now available just about everywhere and they present an uplifting opportunity to think about new beginnings. Those spherical powerhouses will establish themselves in your warm soil, ready to burst into new life as soon as the season dictates.
Bulbs are in the shops NOW. Make the most of the perfect time of year for planting and guarantee a floriferous spring!
The secret of spring flowering bulb success
The secret to bulb success lies in planning for successional, or layered, flowering.
In other words, you can have bulbs flowering from January and February right up to the height of summer, provided you plan for it. And guess what? Nows the perfect time to plan and plant your spring flowering delights!
A brilliant display of spring bulbs would be planted out in early to mid autumn.
The second point to consider is that of drainage pots and soil needs to be free-draining so incorporate grit and ensure there are plenty of drainage holes in the bottom of containers so that your precious bulbs dont rot away.
Any type of pot or container needs to have good drainage so that the bulbs won't rot.
Plant in layers
If you are planting into pots, try a triple decker type of approach. There are some spring flowering bulbs that are ideally suited, and these include snowdrops, crocus, Iris, grape hyacinths, chionodoxas, hyacinths and of course, daffodils and narcissi. You can also try anemones and scillas, plus tulips. Tulips are always best planted slightly later in the year, so this is a great opportunity to plant other bulbs, then revisit the idea in November to add containers filled with tulips. There are tulip varieties that flower early and later, so even these can be given the same sort of treatment.
There are tulips that flower early, others that flower in mid spring and others that flower right up until summer.
Achieve interest for longer with spring flowering bulbs
Planting at different levels is extraordinarily successful, even if you are not necessarily planting at optimum depths for each bulb variety. Put the later flowering bulbs nearer the bottom, even if it means planting deeper than ideal. Layer your pots so that the mid-season flowering bulbs are in the middle and the early flowering varieties nearer the top. It means that your pot displays will flower over a long period of time and give you heaps of joy, just when you need it most.
Spring flowering bulbs bring a lot of joy. These Iris reticulata are particularly beautiful. They flower early and keep low to the ground for protection.
It might be early to think about Christmas, but this is the traditional time to commence the forcing process
The ideas is that you encourage them to come into flower at Christmas. The middle of September is a great time to start off the process. They flower 10-12 weeks after potting, provided they are kept in a cool, dark place. Even under the bed or in a box should suffice. Once they produce shoots, you can bring them out of hiding and enjoy the gradual march to the festive season.
Hyacinths are loved, not only for their beauty but for their scent too. It's time to start forcing Hyacinth bulbs ready for Christmas flowers.
Spring starts now!
You could view your autumn planting programme
as the start of spring. This requires a little bit of imagination, but its an uplifting thought. So, what can you plant during the next few weeks to give you spring flowering beauty?
Firstly, you might not know that there are three distinctive types of bulbs. The most common type are the bulbs of tulips
. These actually shrivel away and die off after flowering. New bulbs form on the sides of the old ones and the flowers next year might be smaller.
Alliums are wonderful bulbs that produce spherical flower heads in spring.
Secondly, bulbs such as daffodil
act rather like perennials. In other words, the bulbs stay approximately the same, provided you allow the foliage to stay after flowering so that food supplies can return into the bulb itself, ready for repeat flowering the following year.
daffodils are some of the best-loved bulbs.
Lastly, there are bulbs such as amaryllis,
which come with embryonic bulbs for the next three years. These are already present with the parent bulb, so they should flower again provided you allow them to make enough food.
Other so-called-bulbs are actually corms. These include crocus, Crocosmia
and freesia. They are flattened rather than spherical and have the habit of forming new corms every year, generally on top of the old one.
Crocosmia is a great garden perennial that comes from a corm. This particular variety is Crocosmia 'Twilight Fairy Gold', with brilliant orange blooms in summer.
Top six bulbs for spring flowering beauty
Plant in drifts under deciduous trees or in groups within the lawn for maximum effect.
A cheery splash of yellow is guaranteed. Make sure you plant them where you can enjoy the sunny sight.
Dont under-estimate the beauty of these little fellows. Plant in shade in large groups and enjoy their subtle beauty.
Cyclamen coum look wonderful planted en masse in a shady spot
Camassia are great bulbs that have tall spires of blue or white flowers in spring.
These produce tall spires of starry blue plumes and should really be planted more widely. Why? Because they are stately and beautiful you definitely cant miss them.
These have such great structural beauty that they are invaluable in both formal and naturalised schemes. Tall or small, theres an Allium for every garden.
Tulips are so versatile and there are some for early spring right through to summer.
So many different varieties, the splash of colour you can achieve with tulips is unrivalled by any other bulb.
Perfect Plants Ltd is an on-line supplier of bulbs, garden plants, house plants, garden equipment, furniture and gifts for all seasons www.perfectplants.co.uk