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Planting flower bulbs: how is it done?

Spring-flowering bulbous plants such as tulips, daffodils and crocuses are an absolute joy in the garden. They provide color early in the spring and create biodiversity. But how exactly do you plant flower bulbs?

Timing

Flower bulbs are planted in the fall, starting from as early as September. Do make sure that your bulbs are in the ground before the first frost. The reason they should be planted in the fall is because the bulbs need the cold of winter to bloom in the spring.

Method

Planting flower bulbs consists of several steps. Once you've done it, you will never forget it.

  1. Loosen the soil with a spade at the place where you want to plant the flower bulbs. This makes the soil easier to work with.
  2. When flower bulbs are not being planted in an existing border, it might be advisable to amend the soil with some organic fertilizer such as compost.
  3. Dig a hole with a trowel or bulb planter and plant the flower bulbs in it with their points facing up and their roots facing down.
  4. Make sure that the bulbs are planted at a depth three times the height of the bulb itself. (A daffodil bulb 2 inches tall should thus be planted at a depth of 6 inches.)
  5. Fill the hole with the previously removed soil and tamp the surface gently.
  6. Water immediately after planting if the soil is not already moist. This will ensure that the flower bulbs will start growing roots straightaway.

It's good to know that you can't really get it wrong. Even if you accidentally plant the flower bulbs upside down, they will still manage to find their way up to the light.

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Positioning

The packaging will state whether the flower bulbs prefer sun or shade. You can plant them in places that you like and there are no wrong choices, it's all about what you like. If you find it hard to choose, read the following tips:

  • Place low-growing bulbs, like hyacinths, in front of higher-flowering bulbs, such as tulips.
  • Create a 'wow' effect by planting flower bulbs in clusters.
  • If you prefer a natural look, plant early-flowering flower bulbs, such as crocuses, snowdrops or glory-of-the-snow in the grass.

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