When to plant bulbs

Spring flowering bulbs

Tulips, Daffodils, Fritillaria and all other spring flowering bulbs can be planted throughout September, October and November. Many types will perform perfectly well, even if planted well in to December but the trick is to get them in before the risk of frost, so that they can start producing roots. After rooting, they are quite frost tolerant.

Summer flowering bulbs

Summer flowering bulbs such as Gladioli, Begonias, Dahlias and Cannas become available from early February through to April.

To give them a really good start, pot them up as early as possible and keep them in a cold frame or greenhouse. Being fairly tender, wait until the risk of heavy frost has passed before moving them outdoors.

Lilies can be planted in either the autumn or spring as they are quite hardy.

Storage

If you take delivery of your dry bulbs before you are ready to plant them, don’t worry. Being dormant, they will keep for several weeks so long as the storage conditions are right.

When you open up your boxes or paper bags, make sure you give the bulbs plenty of air flow and keep them out of direct sunlight. They need to be kept cool and dry so a garage, outbuilding or garden shed would be perfect. But don’t hang about too long though – once a planting season has been missed, your bulbs won’t keep till the next season!

Only a few varieties need to be planted straight away. Erythronium, Allium Ursinum and Anemone Nemorosa are fairly prone to drying out, so it is best to plant them as soon as you can after buying them.

Snowdrops, Bluebells, Aconites and Wood Anemones bought ‘in the green’ from February to April will keep for about a week with no problems. When you get them home, stand the plants upright in their bags with room for air flow, and store in a cool place away from direct sunlight. However, because they are in leaf and actively growing, don’t leave them too long. See our Bulbs ‘in the green’ section for more information.