All you need to know about planting bulbs for Spring

Shhhhhhh the bulbs are sleeping…

…but when they waken and brighten up our gardens, it makes all our Autumn efforts worthwhile! Take a look below at our stunning new range of Spring-flowering bulbs in store now! And, if you’re a Millbrook family member, enjoy 3 for 2 mix and match* on Allium ‘Graceful Beauty’, Allium ’Christophii’, Tulip ’Purple Flag’ and Tulip ’Van Eikk’ (£2.99 each, while stocks last). Buy one get one free* Narcissus Tete a Tete pack of 20 bulbs, £6.99 per pack.

How should I decide which bulbs to buy?

There are five key things to think about when choosing bulbs. The first is obviously colour, then which month it’ll bloom, height of the plant, which month they need to go in the ground and how deep they need to be planted. You can plan a different spectacular display each month with this information. Read the packaging in store, or ask one of our helpful team for advice.

When can you plant bulbs?

If you’ve bought your bulbs in advance, keep them dry and cool and make sure not to store them for too long. If they’re soft or rotting, then throw them away, but if they’ve already sprouted or look a little bit past their best, plant them anyway, you might just be lucky! Plant bulbs that will flower in Spring/Summer, such as daffodils, hyacinths, crocus and alliums out in late September/early October. Plant tulip bulbs in November, before the first frosts.

Why can’t you just plant them in Spring if that’s when they grow?

Bulbs need a long dormant period in cold temperatures for healthy root development.

Can you plant bulbs in containers?

Yes, bulbs will be happy in containers or in open soil as long as the soil is well-drained. We advise using Bulb Fibre, or mixing John Innes No.2 with Multi Purpose compost.

How do you plant bulbs?

Bulbs need to be planted top side up, or sideways. It’s the thinner end of the bulb that should face upwards. As a rule of thumb, plant bulbs three times the depth of the bulb you’re planting. We would recommend planting bulbs in groups of six, but for a really good display, consider planting around 25 to 50 bulbs. If you want to naturalise bulbs in grass, throwing them up in the air and planting them where they fall will give you a natural, random effect. Bulbs won’t grow if you plant them too deep, or upside down and although they will flower for the first year in almost any position, they won’t re-flower in following years unless they’re getting the right levels of sunshine or moisture.

How much water do they need?

Once you’ve planted them, give them a good water as this will help the roots develop. After that, while they’re dormant, you can water less frequently but make sure the soil doesn’t dry out. When the first green shoots appear, begin watering regularly again.

What else will help them grow their best?

Add a handful of general purpose fertiliser when the green shoots appear in Spring and then feed regularly, every 7-10 days. A liquid tomato feed which contains potassium is a good bet.

Did you know…?

…You can ‘lasagne layer’ your bulbs for weeks of Spring colour. Start with the biggest bulbs and plant them 3 to 4 times the depth of the bulb, then layer up with tulips, small narcissi, crocus etc.

*All bulbs subject to availability while stocks last.