Planting Spring Flowering Bulbs
Plan for your garden in spring. Autumn is the time to plant your spring flowering bulbs.
When to Plant
- Plant spring-flowering bulbs, such as daffodils, freesias, bluebells, crocus, and hyacinths, preferably by the end of April.
- Plant tulips in May.
- Place tulip bulbs in paper bags and chill them in the fridge, away from vegetables, for 4-6 weeks before planting. This should also be done with other bulbs if you are in a warmer part of New Zealand.
- Plant hardy summer-flowering bulbs, such as lilies, alliums and crocosmia, in April and May.
Check Your Bulbs are Healthy
- Bulbs should be plump and undamaged.
- Reject any that are mouldy or soft.
Where to Plant
- Plant spring flowering bulbs in a sunny, well-draining location.
- Planted under deciduous trees they will bloom before the trees are in leaf.
- Plant bulbs in pots for spring colour on your deck or anywhere you want it.
How to Plant
- Add good well-rotted compost to the areas where bulbs are to be planted.
- Generally, dig holes to plant the bulbs about twice as deep as the bulb width but check the recommended depth on the label.
- Bulbs must be planted the right way up; pointy end up, the basal plate that may have dried roots should be down.
- Add fertiliser to the soil and mix before planting the bulb, cover and firm down.
- Cover with mulch to keep weeds suppressed and conserve moisture.
- Bulbs look best in mass plantings; plant them in groups spaced 10-15 cm apart, or closer in pots.
Bulb Plant Care
- Bulbs do not need much care but keep weeds down around them.
- Give them some potassium (K) fertiliser or potash to encourage flowering.
- But do not add too much nitrogen (N) which would encourage leaf growth at the expense of flowers.
- Water if required when they start to emerge.
- Dead head spent flowers regularly.
- At the end of the flowering season leave the foliage to die down completely so the bulb can gather energy and prepare for next year.
- Hyacinths and tulip bulbs are best dug out and stored in a cool dry place for re-planting next autumn.
Daffodils can be left to naturalise in the ground for about 4 years before they become too crowded. If this happens, dig them out in summer dormancy, split them, store them in a cool dry place and plant again in autumn.06 May 2021