The first few months of the year can either move spectacularly slowly or surprisingly fast. Either way, you may be shocked to realise you’ve forgotten to plan your spring bulbs! Is it too late to plant your spring bulbs now? The short answer is no, not at all, But there are a few things you should do to help late bloomers along…
When is the best time to plant bulbs?
As a general rule, bulbs that you want to see flower in the early months of the year should ideally be planted around six weeks or more before the ground starts to harden with the first frost. However, bulbs are very hardy! Provided they are firm and plump, are stored correctly and planted in soil that can still be dug over, you are still likely to be rewarded with blooms a few months after planting.
The important thing is to get your bulbs planted as soon as possible, as storing them out of soil all winter could cause them to die. They are actually better off in frosty soil than they are sitting in a bag in your shed! If you’re planting late in the season, there are a few extra steps you can take to make sure they flower:
- Plant a few inches deeper than usual – the extra inches of soil will provide additional insulation.
- If the ground freezes hard, cover the site with some mulch, leaves or straw.
- If you’re planting spring bulbs in pots, use large containers to ensure the bulbs are not against the sides of the pot where they could freeze.
What bulbs can I plant this month?
Although most spring flowering bulbs prefer to be planted as the end of autumn, planting certain bulbs now will still yield a display! Let’s take a look at some;
Tulips should ideally be planted in November to December, once the weather has turned cold. This will avoid early growth and subsequent damage to the roots from frost, as well as fungus and disease which breed in warmer conditions. However, tulips can be planted as late as January or February.
Plant your tulip bulbs with the tips facing up. They should be planted twice as deep as their height. Incorporate about 3 to 4 inches of organic matter into the soil. Water the bulbs slowly with about an inch of water so it has a chance to seep into the ground before nighttime when it might freeze on top. Your first flower may not be spectacular, but subsequent flowering seasons will be even better!
Lily bulbs can be planted any time from autumn to spring in a sunny spot, in rich well-drained soil, around 15-20cm deep. If your soil is heavy, wet or badly drained then you could plant in pots or containers for a lovely patio display. If planting in pots, perhaps wrap them in bubble wrap if you’re expecting particularly cold weather- to help protect them from heavy frost.
Eucomis bulbs (also known as pineapple lilies) are usually planted in spring, however, February is not too early to plant them into pots and containers. If planted in well-drained soil the bulbs should be hardy to around -6 °C. Plant the bulbs 15cm deep in pots for a summer display, or out in the border once actively growing – but only after the last frost.
Get your garden spring ready!
There’s something so fulfilling about planting spring bulbs. It gives you something to look forward to as winter weather begins to take its toll on the garden! If you need help getting your outside space ready for the warmer weather, our team are here to help. We offer a wide range of regular and one-off garden maintenance services to keep your garden looking its best all year round. If you’re interested to know how we can help you, please do give us a call on 07393 821797.