The best time planting for spring flowering bulbs.

The best time planting for spring flowering bulbs is now! 

A title with flower bulbs in it and I am Dutch, does that mean tulips, tulips, tulips. No not at all. But I do love (is it budding or sprouting) flower bulbs in early, mid, and late spring. In this post more about what, where, when and why. 

 

What  are flower bulbs

Flower bulbs’ is a collective name for plants that have a round, thick underground stem, sending roots downwards and leaves upwards. There are bulbs for every season but in this blog, I limit myself to the spring flowering bulbs. 

Bulbs are very versatile, not only available in all kinds of colors and shapes, but also with different appearances from exceptionally fine to large, attention-grabbing flowers. 

To make a choice have a look at size, height, time of year they flower, colors, tones, and shapes. 

Another point of interest is maintenance. For me perennial bulbs are preferable because you can leave them in the garden, so you do not have to store them in winter. 

My Favorite Flower bulbs 

are pastel colored and have fragile shapes: 

  1. Mid to late spring: Bluebells or the  Hyacinthoides non-scripta are my absolute favorite. They will give you a dreamy garden every year and there will be more of them each time.   
  2. Early to mid-spring: Galanthus, (snowdrop) heralds of springtime 
  3. Mid to late spring: Muscari (druifje), white, purple, pink or blue are always beautiful. I usually have them inside the house on my birthday in February. A big bowl on the dining table. After some weeks I plant them wherever there is space outside. 
  4. Early to mid-spring: Scilla, early color and always feels like the start of the gardening season,  
  5. Mid to Late spring: Fritillaria, I love the look of Fritillaria but to be honest they do not grow very well in my garden. But I try it every year again. 
  6. Mid to late spring: Tulips, I prefer tulips in white or light yellow and I use them in containers. 
  7. Mid to late spring: Leucojum, looks like snowdrops. 

Of course, this is very personal, so have a look at catalogues. Choose a color or style and make your own selection. Maybe you love blue Muscari with red Tulips. And remember in nature all colors match. 

 

Where to plant bulbs

Flower bulbs are beautiful in all kinds of gardens.  

In large fields with bluebells or daffodils they can form a tapestry under the trees. You can put them in clusters or use them dotted in a flowerbed.  

bluebells

But in small gardens (like mine) there is always room for some bulbs and if you have no garden at all, put a container with bulbs at your front door. 

Look at your bulbs like you look at perennials. Use the larger ones at the back and the smaller ones at the front of the border. 

Bulbs can grow in most soils but not too wet, so if you have wet clay soils, you’d better use containers. 

When to plant bulbs for spring flowering

Autumn is a suitable time for planting flower bulbs. The earth is still warm and moist. 

Flower bulbs in garden centre (pink Tulips and blue Muscari

If you are looking for the flowering period of the bulbs  

  • March – early spring 
  • April – mid spring 
  • May – late spring 

Why flower bulbs in your garden

Is it not lovely to start the gardening season with bulbs? They really announce spring!  

Color from February to May. 

With bulbs you can make wonderful displays in containers and borders.  

(Have a look at perennials in blue and purple here)

How to plant flower bulbs

Planting: Plant 3 times the size of the bulb deep. Too shallow they do not give flowers. Be aware that if there are animals in your garden like squirrels, you can better put the bulbs a little bit deeper to prevent that there is nothing left in the spring. (a tip from the video in the Bonus tips section).  

Sometimes you see the bulbs coming up early. This is not a problem, if it turns cold, they stop growing. And when the temperature rises, they start growing again. 

Bonus tips 

  • Buy flower bulbs as early as possible to have an extensive choice. 
  • Think about your soil! If you are a tourist in Amsterdam, remind yourself which soil you have at home to buy only what can be successfully planted in your garden.
  • Catalogues, available online or in your garden centre, can be a great source of inspiration.
  • Have a look at the site of Sarah Raven with lovely bulb gifts.
  • After the growing season, let the foliage come down naturally. 

BOOKS 

  • Jacqueline van der Kloet, Color your garden  Bulbs are not only for spring, they can add color and visual interest to your garden all year round. In Colour your Garden Jacqueline van der Kloet shows you how to combine bulbs with the existing plants in your garden.
  • J.A. simmers, Flower bulbs and their culture This book is more about the history of bulbs.

 

So (again) the best time planting for spring flowering bulbs is now. So get of your couch and enjoy planting!