Growing bulbs from seeds

8th May 2023

How to grow flower bulbs from seeds
Snowdrop and bluebell seeds are best propagated in autumn for the best germinating conditions. To get started, collect seed heads from healthy, disease free plants when they’re ripe and let them dry out until they open up. Once they’ve opened, you can easily remove the small, black seeds from inside.

When do I plant seeds from bulbs?

In October-November you should spread the seeds on top of well-draining soil or damp compost and press them firmly into the dirt. Covering with a thin layer of compost or fine grit can help retain moisture and provide additional nutrients to your new seedlings. Make sure not to plant the seeds too deeply because this will prevent them from germinating. Planting in partial shade is ideal, since it will help to protect your seedlings from direct sun and help the soil to retain moisture. Or else, you could put them in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse. Wherever you put them, it is important to ensure that the top inch of soil is always wet.

The cold weather will condition the seeds into germinating in spring. You can leave them undisturbed for 2-3 years, check on their progress and when they have formed a bulb you will be able to lift them and reposition. If you can, leave them where they are planted for the best results, if they take, then you know it’s a good spot for them to flourish. They will naturally spread after flowering.

No easy road to success!

Some bulbs are easier to propagate from seeds than others, as well as snowdrops and bluebells, you could try lilies, daffodils, tulips or alliums. But be patient, this is a long process which can be spoilt by extreme weather. Some seeds from bulbs can take a few years to develop to flowering size; for example, tulips can take up to seven years to be mature enough to flower.