How to: Plant spring bulbs

Bulb In Ground 3

If you want to fill your garden with colour next spring, plant bulbs from October to December, before the first frost. Daffodils, tulips, crocus, grape hyacinths and fritillarias are just some of the plants to choose from that will bring an explosion of colour to your garden when Jack Frost has disappeared and everything starts to wake. You can watch our video on 'How to Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs' or follow the instructions below:

What You Need:

  • Bulbs
  • Shovel, Trowel or Bulb Planter
  • Bone Meal or Superphosphate
  • Water

Step 1
Choose bulbs to plant.  Depending on what variety you buy, each bulb will produce one 1-4 stems and blossoms. Choose bulbs that are firm to the touch with a light brown papery skin, almost like an onion skin. Do not plant a bulb that is soft or shrivelled, as it may be rotten or dead inside.

Step 2
Dig holes for the bulbs. Space the holes 4 to 6 inches apart, and dig them about 8 inches from the base of the bulb. So if you have a 1-inch bulb, you'll need a 9-inch hole. The larger the bulb, the deeper the hole must be. As you dig, clear away roots, rocks and other debris that could impede the growth.

Step 3
Plant the bulbs. Place them in the holes pointy-side up (otherwise they'll try to sprout downward). Sprinkle the soil back into the holes and pack it down with your hands, taking care not to tilt the bulbs in another direction.

Step 4
After planting water the bulbs lightly.  This helps them begin the process of growing. Don't give them a soaking, though; bulbs will decay and die if they get too wet. Don't water the bulbs again unless it's extremely dry outside. 

Step 5
Then start bulb watch and watch your beautiful spring blooms start to sprout.

Tips for buying bulbs

• Before you buy, give bulbs a little squeeze to make sure they are firm and avoid any that have soft patches or look as though they are decaying

• Handle bulbs with care and always wear gloves when handling or planting as some bulbs – like hyacinths – can irritate the skin

• If you’re a beginner with bulbs, go for crocus, daffodils or tulips for fuss-free planting with great results

• If you’re looking for something to plant later in the season go for tulips, as these do best when they’re planted in November

• Buy a good range of bulbs to use in beds, borders and containers