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Hopefully you’ve already bought your spring bulbs for planting this autumn, but fret not if you haven’t yet. Whilst it is getting closer to crunch time, if you’re quick to act you can still get an order in* (and probably with a discount in the process!). As with many things in gardening, spring bulbs need planting out two seasons before flowering.
October is a great month to plant spring bulbs. It’s great to buy a variety of different bulbs so you can enjoy beautiful flowers throughout the spring. When buying bulbs (and corms), it’s great to have an idea of when each variety will flower. This way you can enjoy beautiful flowers from late winter right through until late spring. Below I’ve written a small guide of when you can expect various varieties to flower. This guide is by no means extensive but it is a good starting point.
*If you can’t find what you want in stock online, check your local garden centre – most centres are struggling to shift their stock because everyone buys online since Covid!
Spring bulbs by flowering month
February: iris, crocus, snowdrops
March: iris (early March), crocus (early March), daffodils, fritillaries, early tulips, hyacinths, grape hyacinths (muscari), anenomes
April: daffodils (early April), anemomes, fritillaries, hyacinth, grape hyacinth, tulips
May: bluebells, anemones, late tulips, alliums
June: Late tulips, alliums, ranunculus
Of course, the most common way of planting spring bulbs is in a garden border for a beautiful display. However, there are other fantastic options for those who aren’t quite so blessed for space, or those who just want to plant as many bulbs as they can into their gardens.
You’ve probably come across the term bulb lasagne by now. If you haven’t, it is where you layer different varieties of spring bulbs into one plant pot, so the pot will continuously flower throughout the spring. To make a bulb lasagne, you need an early, mid and late season variety (you can just use two varieties if you wish). Plant the latest flowering variety at the bottom and the earliest flowering variety at the top. Ensure a good layer of compost between each layer of bulbs.
You can also add some winter flowering plug plants on top, so you don’t have to wait until spring for flowers! The Rose Press Garden very kindly sent me some of their plug plant toppers which include violas, pansies and polyanthus. They also have three different colour ways you can choose from, and mine arrived through the letterbox super fresh and healthy.
I love bulb lasagnes. I think that spring bulbs look so pretty in a nice terracotta or glazed antique style pot. Bulb lasagnes also make beautiful and thoughtful Christmas presents for those people who already seem to have everything. You can also buy spring bulb collections designed specifically for bulb lasagnes, such as this one here.
Planting bulbs in your lawn
If you’re short on planting space, one great way to grow more spring bulbs is to plant them directly into your lawn. Smaller, early varieties are best suited to this, such as crocus’, mini daffodils (tete-a-tete), iris’ and snowdrops. Spread the bulbs randomly across your lawn. For a natural look, try throwing them randomly and planting them where they land.
The easiest method to plant bulbs is using a bulb planter. Insert the bulb planter into your lawn to the planting depth required for a specific bulb, then plant the bulb, cover back over with the turf and water in the bulb in. I highly recommend a bulb planter with a release mechanism, such as this one here.
In the spring, let the plants die right back before mowing the lawn. No-mow May is becoming increasingly popular so don’t worry too much about the lawn getting a little bit longer because of this. Adding spring bulbs to your lawn is a great way to help pollinators and increase biodiversity in an area of the garden which is otherwise somewhat lacking in these areas.