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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.


For more bulb growing information see these New Zealand articles. 







Anemone Autumn 3 15 Spring Early Summer
Begonia Spring Note A In pots Spring
Bluebells Autumn 7 10 Summer
Calla Late Autumn-Winter 10 20 Summer
Canna Winter-Early Spring 5 50 Summer
Crocus Autumn 5-8 10 Late Winter-Early Spring
Crocus Giant  Autumn 8 10 Late Winter-Early Spring
Daffodil Autumn 12 10-15 Late Winter-Early Spring
Dahlia Spring 7 30 Summer-Autumn
Dutch Iris Autumn 10 10 Summer
Freesia Autumn 7 7 Spring
Fritillaria Autumn 10 30 Spring
Gladiolus Late Winter-Spring 10 20 Summer
Grape Hyacinth -Muscari Autumn 7 10 Spring
Hippeastrum Winter Note A 35 Late Spring-Summer
Hyacinth Autumn 10, Note A in pots 15 Spring
Iris Reticulata Winter 10 10 Summer
Ixia Autumn 7 10 Spring
Jonquil Autumn 10 10 Late Winter-Early Spring
Lachenalia Autumn 7 10 Spring
Lillium Late Autumn-Winter 10-20 35 Summer
Lily of the Valley Winter 3 10 Late Spring
Ranunculus Autumn 3 15 Spring
Snowdrop Autumn 7 10 Spring
Tulips  Late Autumn-Winter 10-15 10 Spring








1 Comment
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#115/09/202019:52This is really helpful. For someone who works on a gardening industry, this is highly appreciated. Now aspiring gardeners, doesn't have to worry about what to put on their gardens now. Great job!

hamilton landscaping

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