How To Plant Spring Flower Bulbs.Tulips and muscari, how to plant spring flower bulbs


Step By Step Guide How To Plant Spring Flower Bulbs

Follow my Step By Step Guide How To Plant Spring Flower Bulbs for a successful, colourful display that will be the envy of your friends, family and neighbours.

One of the nicest September through to December gardening tasks is planting all those lovely spring flowering bulbs that you have bought. The sense of anticipation and optimism is wonderful and up lifting. Imagining how your spring flowers are going to look while making your selections and planting them is all part of the fun.

From January, we can start to expect to see snowdrops, ( snowdrops, bluebells and aconites are best planted in the green but are successful grown from bulbs too.) these are followed by mauve, blue, yellow and cream crocus and then swathes of gold daffodils and Narcissus, interspersed with Iris.

Tulips will then start to bloom. Along with hyacinth, alliums, muscari, camassia, aconites and puschkinia, you will have plenty of colour well into late spring and early summer.

With a wealth of flowers to choose from we can be spoilt for choice, growers from all over the world develop and introduce us to new and unique tulips, daffodils, Iris and other bulbs every year and the persusal of bulb catalogues is a joyous past time. Set yourself a budget or you will get carried away.

How to plant spring flower bulbs. Lemon yellow daffodil. How to Plant Spring Flower Bulbs
Step By Step Guide How To Plant Spring Flower Bulbs

How To Plant Spring Flower Bulbs

For best effect plant bulbs in groups of six or more, flowers afford a more impressive display when planted en-masse. Aim to plant your bulbs as soon as possible after acquiring them.

Bulbs like to be planted in free draining soil, added grit will aid drainage. Don’t plant them where they will be waterlogged as they will be likely to rot.

Step 1.

Choose a warm, sunny site. Dig a hole deep and wide enough for the number of bulbs you wish to plant.

It should be 2 to 3 times the depth of the bulb. So if your bulb measures 4cm high plant it 8-12cm deep.

Step 2.

Place the bulbs in the hole shoot (pointy end, this is a Louise’s gardening technical term) facing up.

Give the bulbs enough space around each other, approximately twice their width apart.

Step 3.

Cover them with the soil and gently firm it down.

Step 4.

If planting in very dry ground, water the bulbs straight away. Autumn planted bulbs should not require further watering.

The above steps apply to spring, summer and autumn flowering bulbs.


Bulbs are great for naturalising in lawns and for wild/informal styles. Crocus, daffodils, tulips and Narcissus look lovely planted in swathes in lawns and under trees or hedgerows.

How to plant spring flower bulbs. Swathes of daffodils naturalised under trees.
Daffodil Bulbs For Naturalising. How To Plant Spring Flower Bulbs

When To Plant Bulbs For Spring Flowers

Spring flowering bulbs are planted in autumn from September onwards.

Daffodils, Narcissus, hyacinths and crocus are planted the earliest.

Pro Tip

Plant bulbs in weekly intervals to give your garden a longer flowering season.

People fend to plant their bulbs by the end of September but they can be planted right up to end December, if the soil is workable. I have planted them well into January in past years and they have still flowered. In certain areas where the ground remains fairly warm, without water logging or frosts one can get away with late planting.

Tulips are planted in October and November.

Hardy summer flowering bulbs such as crocosmia, brodiaea, alliums and lilies are planted in September and October.

Tender summer flowering bulbs like gladioli, eucomis, freesias, and crinum are planted in early spring.

Autumn flowering bulbs, nerines, sternbergia and colchicums are planted by late summer.

How To Plant Spring Flower Bulbs In Containers

A collection of containers brimming with spring flowers is a sight for sore eyes. Cheerful daffodils, tête-à-tête, showy tulips and stately alliums put on a great show.

Group together similar styles of pots for a cohesive look, for example, aged terracotta pots or stylish slate grey containers.

Pro Tip

Plant up containers that you can move around to hide any gaps in the beds and borders.


Step 1.

Choose your container and place some broken pot crocks in the bottom.

Step 2.

Use a good quality multipurpose compost.

3 parts compost mixed with 1 part grit.

Step 3.

If planting the one type of flower, the bulbs should be 3 x their depth and one bulb width apart. You can plant several layers.

For a multi flower display choose various ones such as tulips, daffodils, muscari.

The largest, latest flowering bulbs are planted the deepest, cover them with compost then add the next bulbs and so on in layers, with the smallest, earliest flowers at the top.

If you prefer top dress with a layer of decorative grit.

Step 4.

Water immediately after planting and thereafter as necessary while the bulbs are growing. Feed with a high potassium fertiliser once a week when shoots appear until after flowering when the foliage starts to die back.

Pro Tip

A sprinkling of chili powder or flakes will help deter mice and squirrels from digging up the bulbs.

Red and yellow tulips in a container. How to Plant Bulbs In Containers
How To Plant Bulbs In Containers

Planting Bulbs Indoors

Many bulbs are ideal for planting indoors for a Christmas or early spring display.

They introduce cheery colour and winter fragrance to your home.

Choose varieties that are highly scented, hyacinths, Narcissus paper-white and tête-à-tête.

They are easy to grow and can be forced to flower early by giving them a suitable cold spell. Bulbs are available that have been pre chilled for forcing but you can just as easily use garden bulbs.

Put hyacinth bulbs in a paper bag in the fridge for a few weeks before planting up in pots, bowls or baskets in the same way as garden bulbs.

Other bulbs can be chilled in a garage, shed, or cool cupboard in the house prior to planting.

Also consider the Christmas classic-Amaryllis.  These do not need a cold spell and can be planted again and again each year.

General purpose compost with added grit is perfectly suitable.

For further insight of where your bulbs come from read Dutch bulb fields by Wine and Wisteria Travel

I hope that this step by step how to plant spring flower bulbs is a help to you. Use imagination and a whole load of gardening passion and you will easily grow a fantastically colourful spring garden.

Please share this article with friends and family and on social media. Let’s spread the gardening know-how and get everyone planting and growing spring flowers.

If you have any questions about this or any other article pop them in the comments box below. I love to hear from you and I reply as soon as I can.

Happy Gardening

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