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Spring bulbs

Overview

Bulbs pack a punch for something that is so small. For most of the year, they lie in wait. Then just at that point in spring when we are all longing for a break from the grey and cold, they light up your outdoor space with a dazzling display of colour. Here are some tips to get the most out of your bulbs.

What bulbs look like in the ground, these have already started sprouting. Source: gardeningknowhow.com.
Iris bulb – just sprouting in the early spring.

Flowering

Once the flower has faded, you need to allow the leaves and flower stems to die back completely. Whilst they might look a bit untidy, don’t be tempted to cut the leaves off when still green – the plant still needs energy from the sun to keep it healthy over winter.

Deadheading the faded flowers will also help the bulb concentrate its efforts on channeling energy towards the bulb, rather than developing seeds.

Daffodils in full bloom!

Storing and planting

You have three options after your bulbs have flowered:

  1. Lift and store – tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses can be lifted from the soil and stored in a dark, dry place for most of the year. You just need to remember to replant them in September – November for them to bloom next spring.
  2. Leave in their container / ground – bulbs like snowdrops and grape hyacinth should be kept in well-watered soil all year round. If in a pot, make sure the soil doesn’t become waterlogged as this can cause bulbs to rot.
  3. Give them a new home – if you don’t have a garden and prefer something more exciting in your pots, you can plant them out in nature where they’ll thrive for years to come