Tag Archives: spring flowering bulbs

Spring flowering bulbs

Now’s the time to plant spring flowering bulbs

The majority of spring bulbs benefit from being planted early from September onwards. Even though tulips should not be planted until November it is best to buy them now so you guarantee getting the varieties you like. Planting tulips later in the autumn helps reduce the risk of the fungal disease commonly called tulip fire. 


So what are ‘spring bulbs’?

Well they aren’t light bulbs but they are a similar shape! Flower bulbs are a modified plant stem, which have the purpose of storing food and water for the plant through the cold or dry season. Think of it as an underground holding tank if you will. During the growing season the bulbs will send down roots and send up shoots. These then die back and the energy stored in the bulb until the following year. Bulbs are a great investment as they cost far less than plants and if cared for correctly, should give you years of pleasure and surprises as they pop up!

Planting spring bulbs is an easy way of achieving a colour coordinated spring display. They are also perfect for planting in tubs and containers or in borders. 


How to plant

On the back of each of our bulb packets you will find a handy diagram showing you how far apart and how deep to plant your bulbs. Most bulbs are easy to identify which way they go up. If you use the light bulb image in your head – the bulb goes down and the tip/screw end goes upwards – just like in a ceiling light! Generally you plant bulbs three times their own diameter in depth. It is advisable to use a bulb fibre compost when planting your bulbs. 


What varieties?

We have lots of varieties in stock, from old favourites to new and exciting hybrids. So come and see what takes your fancy and get planting this weekend!


Making a bulb lasagne

If you want to know how to make your own bulb lasagne, take a look at our blog post from November  Here


Get Into Gardening Event: 16th & 17th March. 20% off most garden plants.

Spring Flowering Bulbs

Spring Flowering Bulbs

Our spring flowering bulbs will be arriving into the Garden centres just in time for the Bank Holiday Weekend (25th August).  Buying your spring bulbs early ensures that you will get the best selection! Plant your bulbs soon for the best growth possible come March and April and a stunning display of flowers. Read our tips on planting spring flowering bulbs below and the specific care advice for some of our favourites including daffodils, tulips and hyacinths.


  • * Choose where to plant your bulbs. Most spring bulbs flourish in sun however some such as snowdrops need some shading. Read below for the growing requirements of our favourite spring bulbs.
  • * Drainage; the spot that you have chosen also needs to have good drainage. Bulbs will rot if they are left in wet soil.
  • * Weed! Also loosen out your soil and mix in a layer of compost.
  • * Space them out. The go to spacing for bulbs is around two bulbs width between them. This will create a lovely busy display without having a detrimental effect on their growth!
  • * Plant the right way up! Put the pointed part facing up as this is the stem. Sometimes you cant see this clearly so the common thing to do is plant the bulb sideways.
  • * Plant deep. Bulbs need to planted deep, we recommend digging holes between 3-4 times the size of the bulb
  • * Add in some good quality compost to your soil to promote the best growth possible
  • * A good watering is a good idea as it will squish air pockets that threaten to dry out your bulbs.
  • * Mulch to prevent weeds from sprouting!
  • * Had problems with your bulbs being eaten before? You can try and put caging around your bulbs; even when they are in a group. The roots and stems can easily grow through this. Alternatively you may try using holly in the planting holes or even crushed gravel.
  • * Try something new; do you normally plant your bulbs in rows or formulaically? In fact people often think that bulbs look even better in random clumps. Why not try a really random approach and throw your bulbs in the air and plant them exactly where they fall?


  • – Tulips are one of our favourites simply because they symbolise spring! The range of bright colours makes tulips the perfect bulb for every garden.
  • – Plant October/November.
  • – Tulips can cope with either full or partial sun
  • – Tulips only need watering if there hasn’t been rain for a week. Before deciding that they need watering check the top layer of soil, it has to be dry to need watering. Tulips are hugely sensitive to rotting so take care with watering. Don’t water after the ground has frozen.
  • – Once flowers come through in the spring, feed your tulips with a quality feed and water them thoroughly. Hey will also need to be deadheaded but this only applies to the flowers; never the leaves.


  • – Daffodils are a brilliant spring flower and are also easy to grow.
  • – Plant  these anytime from September- November.
  • – They also require well drained soil and partial or full sun; never plant them in full shade.
  • – To avoid the problem of daffodils growing ‘blind’ (a plant with only leaves and no flowers) take care to plant them deep enough and far enough away from each other to prevent overcrowding.
  • – In spring a high potash fertiliser such as Tomorite can be added if the growth is disappointing. Deadhead daffodil flowers as they fade.
  • – When cutting daffodils keep them in a vase alone; they release a fluid that is harmful to other flowers and will cause them
    to wilt.


  • – These are renowned for being tolerant bulbs so they can take most kinds of soil and either full sun or partial shade.
  • – These can be from August through to November.
  • – Dead head the flowers when they come through but again leave the leaves and foliage for at least a month to help next years growth.


  • – Another great spring bulb that is brilliant ‘en masse’ and creates a vibrant flower carpet.
  • – Plant between October and December.
  • – Again they require well drained soil as they will rot in any soggy soil.
  • – Mulch the beds and remove this around February.
  • – Keep them watered through any dry spells but never waterlog them.


  • – These also require well drained soil and flourish in rich organic matter so add plenty of compost.
  • – Snowdrops prefer a slightly shaded spot where the soil won’t fully dry out.
  • – Plant in October or November.


  • – These need well drained and fertile soil in full  or partial sunlight.
  • – Once they have flowered cut back the flowers but allow the leaves to die off by themselves.

Forcing hyacinths indoors;

Hyacinths are a Christmas favourite and are often forced to grow indoors to flower in time for a lovely display. If you wish to do this follow these steps;

  1. 1. Half fill a pot with compost and don’t compact it
  2. 2. Place your bulbs on top, they can be close to eachother but don’t let them touch
  3. 3. Place more compost around the bulbs until only the tips of the bulbs are showing
  4. 4. Now compact the compost gently
  5. 5. Water them, being cautious not to overwater
  6. 6. Move to a dark and cool place to store ( a temperature around 7°C is ideal). This may be in a garage, shed or cellar. It’s important that you check on them often to make sure that they don’t dry out. They will probably take around 10 weeks in the cool.
  7. 7. As the shoots reach around 1 inch you can slwly increase temperature and light exposure. Then once they have reached 2.5 inches they can be brought inside. They are probably around 3 weeks away from flowering.

Aftercare for spring bulbs – why do i always have to leave the foliage to go brown?

We recommend leaving the leaves on any spring bulbs for as long as 6 weeks after flowering. Similarly we suggest trying to minimise the number of leaves you remove when cutting the flowers. This is because after flowering the bulbs begin to prepare for next year. The leaves are photosynthesising to create food for the bulb to store for next year. The more food they have for next year, the more successful their growth will be!

Sedum Brilliant. A wonderful herbaceous perennial

September in the garden

As we move into autumn, all green fingered people tend to rub their hands together in glee as it is the best time to get out in your garden, tidy up, plant new plants and generally prepare for the show that is spring and summer. September in the garden is a fun time, here is a little reminder of some tasks that you may choose to do this month.

In the kitchen garden

Plant new strawberry plants to fruit next year.

Apply grease bands (available from our garden centre pest control section) to your fruit trees towards the end of this month. This deters moths.

Beware of carrot flies. Protect your crop with an insect mesh.

If you are growing a pumpkin for Halloween, to help them ripen evenly raise them up gently and rest on a bed of straw.

Sow your oriental leaves, parsley and winter radish.

If you haven’t already got them in, plant your Christmas potatoes now.

Sow green manure in vegetable beds that are being left to rest for the winter. This prevents weed growth and can be turned in for added nutrients when you need the bed.

Cut out the fruited old brown canes of berries (raspberries, blackberries etc) but leave new green canes to crop next year.

In the flower garden

Choose and buy your spring flowering bulbs now while you have maximum choice of varieties. Check the packet before planting as some varieties like tulips are best planted in November.

Aerate your lawn with a fork or specific aerator (available from our garden centres). Apply an autumn feed and weed treatment.

Net your pond to protect it from leaf fall, we’ve already done ours at our Sidmouth Road, Clyst St Mary Aquatic Centre.

Plant autumn flowering plants to fill colour gaps. Our nursery have some beautiful dianthus, cyclamen and sedums already in stock and chrysanthemums will be available towards the end of the month.

If you have a greenhouse and it is fairly empty, give it a good clean with disinfectant before putting any new crops in.

Our garden centres have all the items you need to make the most of your garden, whatever the month, so please come and visit us soon.