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Autumn Top Job Bulb Selection and Planting


Autumn Top Job
Bulb Selection and Planting

How To Choose The Best Bulbs
The majority of Spring flowering bulbs can be planted in September, the principal exception being tulips which should be planted in late October or November. For a full list of bulb planting and flowering times, click here.

Select bulbs which are undamaged and plump, the larger the bulb the better the resulting plant.

Bulb Planting
As soon as the bulbs are purchased, store them in cool place if not planting immediately. Daffodils and erythronium in particular deteriorate out of the ground, so plant as soon as possible.

As a general rule, plant bulbs to a depth of at least twice their size. For the more common bulbs and their planting depth, click here. 

Bulb planting in a flower bed consists of digging over the soil to a spade's depth, incorporating some bonemeal or other long lasting fertiliser, then planting the bulbs at the correct depth. For a good display, plant the bulbs apart at roughly the same distance as the planting depth.

For naturalising in a lawn, mark an area roughly 3 foot square, and skim of the top turf with a spade. Fork over the soil, incorporating a long lasting fertiliser (for example bonemeal). Plant the bulbs to the correct depth (and the same distance apart). replace the soil and turf and firm it down. If the conditions are dry, apply some water, but do not water-log the bulbs.

Crown Imperials
These beautiful fritillarias need a little special attention. They should be planted to a depth of 6in / 15cm in a dryish soil - crown imperials will not thrive in wet soil. 

Crown Imperial

The bulbs have hollow crowns that will hold water and cause rotting, so plant them on their sides. They should be left in the same place for four or five years. On heavy soils, plant them in coarse sand or grit to improve drainage.

Scented Bulbs
The supreme scented bulb is the hyacinth, followed closely by some of the lilies - lilium regale and lilium auratum are particularly good. A few daffodils are scented, notably Narcissus 'Albus Plenus Odoratus' and Narcissus poeticus.