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Planting Bulbs


A garden that contains a good selection of different bulbs is assured of colour from late winter until summer. Jonquils and Lachenalias and crocus in late winter are followed by Daffodils, Anemones and Ranunculi. Spring brings Hyacinths, Freesias, Tritonias and Watsonias, and let’s not forget those summer flowering Callas, Lilies and Gladioli.


Planting in the Garden


When planting bulbs in the garden they require a well-drained, sandy loam which is not overly rich. You can improve heavy soils by adding coarse sand or Oderings Compost. Tui Bulb Fertiliser should be incorporated into the soil during preparation and prior to planting (always avoid direct contact between the bulb and fertiliser or fresh manure). The bulbs will also respond well to a feed with a liquid fertiliser as buds start to appear and again after flowers have finished.


Planting in Pots 

Many bulbs will grow to perfection in tubs, pots or troughs, which can be moved around the garden, terrace or balcony. Smaller flowering bulbs such as Daffodils, Jonquils, Hyacinths, Bluebells, Lachenalias, Freesias and Tulips can be moved inside as they start to flower. The containers need to be at least 15cm deep to allow for good root growth and potted using a quality bulb potting mix such as Tui Bulb Mix. Plant your bulbs to their required depth, which is about double the height of the bulb, and plant them closer than what you would in the garden. Keep your containers in a cool shady place until the leaves emerge, then move into a sunny area. To promote earlier flowering on tall strong stems, place the Hyacinths, Tulips, Anemone and Ranunculus into the fridge (7-10 degrees) for 3-4 weeks before planting


(Note: bulbs in pots are generally not suitable for reusing for next season).


Extra Tips


  • Bulbs don't like wet feet, so make sure their soil is free draining 
  • Apply a bulb fertiliser when the buds start to appear, and again after flowers have finished
  • Adding a layer of mulch on top will help keep their roots moist 
  • Chilling bulbs in a paper bag in the fridge for 4-5 weeks before planting can help promote earlier flowering on tall, strong stems
  • Most bulbs can stay in the ground for years, with new bulbs forming from the parent bulb.
  • After flowering, leave the bulbs to die down completely, don't cut off the straggly foliage. The leaves provide the bulbs food supply for the following season.



AnemoneAutumn315Spring Early Summer
BegoniaSpringNote AIn potsSpring
CallaLate Autumn-Winter1020Summer
CannaWinter-Early Spring550Summer
CrocusAutumn5-810Late Winter-Early Spring
Crocus Giant Autumn810Late Winter-Early Spring
DaffodilAutumn1210-15Late Winter-Early Spring
Dutch IrisAutumn1010Summer
GladiolusLate Winter-Spring1020Summer
Grape Hyacinth -MuscariAutumn710Spring
HippeastrumWinterNote A35Late Spring-Summer
HyacinthAutumn10, Note A in pots15Spring
Iris ReticulataWinter1010Summer
JonquilAutumn1010Late Winter-Early Spring
LilliumLate Autumn-Winter10-2035Summer
Lily of the ValleyWinter310Late Spring
Tulips Late Autumn-Winter10-1510Spring


For more bulb growing information see these New Zealand articles. 









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