The frosts are coming, so Spring into action with your bulb planting

02 November 2011

When to plant your bulbs

We are now well into bulb planting season (October – December), so before the first frosts arrive, get your snow drops, crocus, grape hyacinths, daffodils and tulips into the ground.

 Buying bulbs

If you have not already bought your bulbs, make sure they are as fresh and healthy looking as possible. So avoid buying any that look dried up or damaged and look to choose plump firm bulbs instead.

 Planting depths and distances

Bulbs should be planted two to three times their own depth and two to three bulbs apart.

Caring for your bulbs outdoors

Keep your soil / compost moist and if necessary cover planted areas with wire mesh or chicken wire to stop your bulbs being dug up by small mammals. This can be removed once your bulbs begin to shoot.

 Containerised bulbs for indoors

If you intend to plant your bulbs into a pot, pick one that is the right shape and size to compliment the bulbs when they are fully grown and in full bloom. If you are using pots with drainage holes and saucers, then make sure you cover the drainage holes with some broken crock.

If you intend to use a water-tight pot, create an internal reservoir by adding a ½ – 1 inch layer of crushed volcanic rock, covered with capillary matting to keep it separate from the compost. You will need to consider this extra space requirement when selecting your pots.

We recommend using a single Genus / type of bulb per pot as we believe ‘less is more’ with a bold, single bloom display.

If you want to create a mixed colour display, look to use a collection of different sized pots with a single Genus / type if bulb in each pot. You will have to give the same consideration about pots size and shape for each type of bulbs you intend to plant and as a collection of pots and bulbs as a whole. Below are some examples of how you should and should not create a mixed collection of pots.

As bulbs do not like being water-logged, use a general purpose compost, mixed with a little horticultural grit to help open up the compost and make it more free-draining.

We always like to add moss and small twigs, to the top of the pot, once planted as it gives the pot a more natural woodland theme.

 Caring for your bulbs indoors

Like outdoors, you need to keep your pots moist, not dry, but avoid them getting too wet and waterlogged. Our experience tells us that most indoor plants fail due to being continually over-watered.

Great bulbs for internal flowering colour throughout the year


(Feb – Apr)


(May – Jul)


(Aug – Oct)


(Nov – Jan)

Narcissus Tulipa Cyclamen Cyclamen
Freesia Freesia Nerium Galanthus
Fritillaria Lilium Vallota Hyacinthus
Hippeastrum / Amaryllis