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Growing Tips

HOW TO GROW SUMMER FLOWERING BULBS

PLANTING AND AFTERCARE

 

DAHLIAS

DEPTH AND SPACING: Lay Tubers lengthways with the ‘eyes’ (i.e. the growing tips) facing up and cover with 2-3” (5-8cm) of soil.
Position with one plants width between tubers (6-9 " (15-22cm) apart).
IDEAL ASPECT: Sunny with protection from strong winds.
IDEAL SOIL TYPE: Well drained, generally not fussy.
FERTILISING: Either prepare the soil with well-rotted manure several weeks prior to planting, or top dress after planting (avoid direct contact with the tuber).
A bi-weekly liquid fertiliser during flowering will result in the production of more flowers.
WATERING: Keep soil moist while these plants are actively growing.


BEGONIA

PLANTING: In March when growth can be seen emerging from tubers, plant them just level with the soil surface hollow side up, in containers of moist peat. compost. Seed trays or small pots are ideal. Maintain an environment of 45-60°F (7–15°C) and keep tubers away from strong midday sun. When 4 – 6 leaves have developed, transplant into peat based potting compost and water regularly. Plants for outside should be gradually introduced to outdoor temperatures over two weeks before planting outdoors.
IDEAL ASPECT: Filtered light to full sun, light shade is ideal.
IDEAL SOIL: Light, crumbly and well drained.
FERTILISING: Feed generously with a slow release fertiliser (3- 4 month release). Applying a liquid fertiliser will be particularly beneficial to potted plants.
WATERING: Keep the soil constantly moist (but never soggy) while the plants are actively growing. Allow the soil to dry out at the end of the season.


LILY OF THE VALLEY
 

DEPTH AND SPACING: Plant the pips 1” (2cm) deep and 2” (5cm) apart.
IDEAL ASPECT: Part to deep shade.
CLIMATE NOTES: Fully frost hardy.
IDEAL SOIL: Rich, peaty and full of well rotted organic matter.
FERTILISING: Respond well to a yearly application of well rotted animal manure or leaf mould applied each winter.
WATERING: Keep soil constantly moist during the growing months (especially if the weather is warm or the pips are growing in a sunny spot).


LILIUMS

DEPTH AND SPACING: Plant deep enough to cover the bulbs with 4” (10cm) of soil. (30cm) apart. Turbans/species 9” (20cm) apart. For dense displays of very intense colour (especially when potting) you can plant Lilium bulbs much closer together.
IDEAL ASPECT: Full sun to light shade. In most cases it is ideal to keep the soil around the roots of the bulb cool. Heavy mulch will achieve this.
CLIMATE NOTES: Frost hardy.
IDEAL SOIL: Rich moisture retentive but free draining.
FERTILISING: Top dress with a general purpose, slow release fertiliser (preferably low in nitrogen) after planting and again each autumn. Alternatively, feed at 14-day intervals after flowering, with a liquid fertiliser.


GLADIOLI

DEPTH AND SPACING: 2 – 4” (5-10cm) apart with a covering of 2-4” (5-10 cm) soil.
IDEAL ASPECT: Sunny with protection from strong winds.
IDEAL SOIL: Well drained and light, although generally not fussy.
FERTILISING: Top dress with well-rotted compost or a general-purpose fertiliser after planting.

 

ZANTEDESCHIA (CALLA LILY)

DEPTH AND SPACING: 3–4” (7–10cm) deep hole (i.e. quite close to the top of the soil surface, and about 12” (30cm) apart.
IDEAL ASPECT: Full sun/part shade.
IDEAL SOIL: Rich moisture retentive and with generous amounts of humus.
FERTILISING: Mulch heavily over winter with a generous layer of peat.
WATERING: Water sparingly until you see the shoots emerge and then water more generously.


DWARF PINEAPPLE LILY (EUCOMIS) 

DEPTH AND SPACING: 5” (12cm) deep x 8” (20cm) apart.
IDEAL ASPECT: Full sun.
HARDINESS: These bulbs are not fully hardy so require protection in areas where winters are cold and temperatures remain below freezing during the day.
IDEAL SOIL: Any rich, well-drained soil.
FERTILISING: Apply a general-purpose fertilizer each year in early spring.


LIATRIS - BLAZING STAR 

PLANTING AND SPACING: Plant 15-20 cm apart in clumps of at least 10 bulbs for maximum impact.
SOIL TYPE: Rich well draining. The soil must be well drained over winter to stop the bulbs from rotting.
HARDINESS: Fully frost hardy.
ASPECT: Full sun to part shade (too much shade the stems stretch and become a bit soft and leggy).


CYCLAMEN

DEPTH AND SPACING: Cover tubers with 1” (2cm) of soil or loose organic matter. Space 6” (15cm) apart. Place corms rounded side downwards.
IDEAL SOIL: Loose, high in organic matter.
IDEAL ASPECT: Part shade (can be enjoyed indoors for short periods).
HARDINESS: Full hardy.
FERTILISING: Top dress with bone meal each spring.
WATERING: Water while actively growing.


GLADIOLUS CALLIANTHUS

DEPTH AND SPACING: Plant 4-6” (10-15cm) deep and 6–10” (15-25cm) apart.
IDEAL ASPECT: A warm spot with full sun.
CLIMATE NOTES: Protect against severe frosts by planting in a warm spot and mulching well.
IDEAL SOIL: Well drained garden soil.
FERTILISING: No fertilising is required in fertile soils, otherwise feed annually in spring with a general fertiliser.
WATERING: Water regularly during active growth but allow the soil to dry out while the corms are dormant.


CROCOSMIA

DEPTH AND SPACING: Plant 2 inches deep and allow 4 inches between bulbs.
IDEAL ASPECT: Sunny position with plenty of morning sun.
SOIL TYPE: Well drained.
FERTILISING: Top dress with general fertiliser in the spring.
WATERING: Keep soil moist in the spring.


AGAPANTHUS

DEPTH AND SPACING: Position the crown just below the soil level and space 12 inches (30cm) apart.
SOIL: Almost all soils are tolerated but Agapanthus generally does best in well-drained and rich soils.
ASPECT: Full/part sun – generally a sunnier spot yields more flowers.
WATERING: Water well while the plant establishes itself but once established these plants are highly drought tolerant.
HARDINESS: In frost pockets protect with a layer of straw or bracken.
FERTLISING: An annual application of a general-purpose fertiliser in early spring is usually sufficient.

 

HOW TO GROW SPRING FLOWERING BULBS

PLANTING AND AFTER CARE

Spring Bulbs are generally quite simple and easy to grow because most have similar requirements so once you understand the basics you can grow nearly any Spring flowering bulb with ease.

PLANTING TIME

  • For best results plant Spring bulbs in Autumn.

DEPTH AND SPACING

  • Most bulbs are planted twice as deep as the bulb is high and the same distance apart. In most cases, the pointed end of the bulb should be upwards.  (If in doubt, plant the bulb on its side).

SOIL TYPE

  • Most Spring bulbs require a moisture retentive, well drained soil. If your soil is soggy you can raise the beds to improve drainage or plant in pots.

POSITION

  • Most bulbs require full sun to light shade. Generally heavier shade produces taller (and softer) stems. In warmer climates, most bulbs tolerate greater levels of shade.

WATERING

  • Spring flowering bulbs in the garden will not usually require watering providing they are planted in moisture retentive soil. Bulbs planted in containers (hanging baskets, tubs, window boxes, etc) should be kept moist but not wet.

FEEDING

  • Top dress all Spring flowering bulbs in Autumn with a bulb or general fertiliser. Many bulbs perform better if a second dressing is applied straight after flowering.  Spread the fertiliser over the top of the soil and water in.

POST FLOWERING CARE

  • Remove dead heads and allow foliage to die back naturally.
  • During this period the leaves are acting like solar panels, generating food which is stored in the bulb for generating next year's flower so it is very important that the leaves are not removed prematurely or tied into knots.
     

DIGGING AND STORING YOUR BULBS

  • Allow the foliage to die down before lifting (or for at least 6 weeks after flowering). Firstly loosen the soil with a fork and gently pull up the bulbs by their stems.
  • Allow the bulbs to dry somewhere cool (but not in full sun). Once dry, clean off excess dirt and remove old flowering stalks.
  • Store the bulbs somewhere cool (less than 25°C), dry and airy until replanting in Autumn.

 
TO LIFT OR NOT TO LIFT?

  • This is one of the most popular questions when it comes to bulb care.
  • There are many bulbs which can successfully be left in the ground from year to year without any detrimental impact on their floral performance.
  • Some bulbs however, especially tulips and hyacinths, are best lifted each year.


WHICH BULBS WHERE?

  • Bulbs for Rockeries -  The smaller bulbs are ideal for filling rockeries we would recommend:-
    • Bluebells
    • Dutch Iris
    • Short Daffodils
    • Dwarf & Specie Tulips
    • Crocus
    • Dwarf Iris
    • Muscari
    • Spring Star Flowers
  • Bulbs for Shady Spots - This selection will grow with only 2-3 hours of full sun daily or filtered light all day:-
    • Anemones
    • Crocus
    • Tulips
    • Daffodils
    • Bluebells
    • Hyacinths
    • Muscari
    • Snowdrops
  • Bulbs for Sunny Spots:-
    • Anemones
    • Tulips
    • Alliums
    • Hyacinths
    • Daffodils
    • Muscari
    • Iris
  • Bulbs for Naturalising
    • Anemones
    • Bluebells
    • Daffodils
    • Iris
    • Muscari

 


 

Tips for NATURALISING BULBS - Naturalised bulbs look wonderful and are very low maintenance.
 

  • Plant randomly to avoid creating a 'contrived' effect.  Occasional clumps of 20 or more bulbs look wonderful, especially if they can be allowed to 'spill' down a hill or slope.
  • Choose the right bulbs-Crocus (for short grassed areas) and Daffodils are usually the most suited to naturalising, especially the strong reliable varities.
  • Plant in a sunny or lightly shaded (such as under deciduous trees) well drained spot.
  • Annually top dress with a balanced fertiliser just as the shoots appear above the soil.
  • Stop mowing and protect the planted area from foot traffic once the shoots break through the soil.
  • After flowering do not mow for at least 6 weeks to allow foliage to mature.  Mowing around the perimeter of the area will help it look neat.
  • To plant, cut the top turf layer and roll it back and fork over the area to be planted.  Alternatively, plant each bulb individually using a trowel or bulb planter taking care to work the soil prior to planting. 

 


 

Tips for Success with bulbs in pots

Bulbs, with their compact root systems and brilliant colours are ideal for growing in pots.  Here are our top tips for achieving the best results from potted bulbs :-

  1. Place bulbs away from the outer edges of the pot where the extremes in heat and dryness can stress them causing inconsistent and poor results.
  2. Keep the pots in a cool dim area (eg under trees) until the shoots are about 5-10cm (2-4") tall at which time the pots can be brought into full sun. 
  3. Water little but often.  Bulbs like moist, but not soggy, soil and because pots can dry out rapidly in warm weather, water them regularly.
  4. Plant one variety per pot or, at least, varieties which flower simultaneously to achieve the most impact.
  5. Plant potted bulbs much closer than you would in the garden (almost cheek to cheek but not actually touching).  This will result in a more pleasing finish.
  6. Consider combining the bulbs with lower growing perennials and annuals such as violas and pansies for interesting effects.
  7. If the pots are in an area with dim light or strong light coming from one direction only, remember to rotate them regularly to avoid a lopsided finish and to ensure the stems grow upright.

 


Tips for - Success with forced Hyacinths

Forced Hyacinths in pots

Hyacinths are ideal for growing in pots indoors.  They can readily be 'forced' so that you can enjoy the fragrance of Spring indoors much earlier than normal.

To achieve this you must use PREPARED bulbs ( sold labelled as such) and plant by early October at the latest.

Pot bulbs so that their tops are just showing above the potting compost.

Plant the bulbs closely - almost cheek to cheek but not touching either each other or the sides of the pots.

Store pots in a cold spot (9ºC/48ºF) for 10-12 weeks until the flower buds are 7-10cm (3-4") tall.

At this time move pots to a warmer and lighter spot such as the lounge or kitchen.  Keep the soil moist but well drained.

After flowers have finished, discard the bulbs or plant in the garden although it will be a number of years before these exhausted bulbs recover and re-flower.

 

 

Successful Hyacinth Vases

Hyacinths can also be grown on water - using vases especially designed for this purpose.  These can be purchased at most good garden centres that stock Spring flowering bulbs.

Fill the vase with water to the point where the water is just below (but not touching) the base of the bulb.

A small piece of charcoal or two in the water will help the process and keep the water cleaner.

Place the bulb on top of the vase.

Store the vase and bulb in a cool dark place until the vase is filled with roots and the flower spikes have appeared.

Move the vase to a dimly lit area for a week or so then bring them into full light where you wish to see them develop.

After the flowers have finished discard the bulbs.

Top Tip :- Start with large, plump bulbs and use the strongest growing varieties such as blue, pink and white varieties.