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All about flowering bulbs, choosing, planting, flowering for Christmas

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tulip pot plant

Bulbs are always popular
and in the U.K. are a sign that Spring is on the way.

When buying bulbs always select carefully.
  Good bulbs are plump, firm and free from blemishes.  They should also be a
good size (for the type) as if they are too small they may not flower in the first year.

Bulbs are best planted in clusters.  They
look good under a tree, in a tub or in window boxes.

If planting bulbs in grass
remember to choose low growing varieties such as “February Gold”
or “Jenny” daffodils or Kaufmanniana tulips.  To achieve a
random look scatter the bulbs onto the lawn and plant where they fall. 
Remember bulbs planted in lawns make mowing trickier.

Bulbs suffer if they are not planted deep enough.  
As a general rule they should be planted at three times the depth of the
bulb.   i.e. if the bulb measure 5 cms (2″) from top to
bottom, they should be planted 15 cms (6″) deep.

When the flowers are finished the dead flower
heads should be cut off before they turn to seed to prevent the plant being weakened for
the next year. 

Leave the stems to turn brown and die off naturally, this will allow
nourishment to be returned to the bulb for next year’s flowers.  Don’t trim the
leaves off or tie them down
  If you need to remove the bulbs to make way for
other planting, carefully lift out the bulbs and replant them in a corner of your garden
with wire netting beneath them.  Lift and replant in autumn.

Daffodil bulbs should be
in before the end of October. Small varieties developed from wild daffodils (Species)
should be planted in holes 75mm (3 in) deep, other varieties at 15 cm (6ins) deep.

can be planted from
October until the end of November in holes about 10 cm (4ins) deep.

Snowdrops can be planted
as bulbs before the end of September in holes 75-100mm (3-4ins) deep, however, if
possible, plant them immediately after flowering whilst still in leaf.

Crocuses should be planted
before the end of September at about 50-75mm (2-3ins) deep.


Planting bulbs indoors for Christmas flowering.

As these are required for early flowering you will need
to buy ‘prepared’ bulbs, these have been treated to speed up their development. 
is generally considered to be the best date for planting to ensure flowers for
Christmas, but as nature is not an exact science this, of course, cannot be guaranteed.

Put some potting compost or well soaked
bulb fibre into a pot leaving enough space to allow the bulbs to be placed
inside with the tips just below the rim of the container.  They should
be placed close together but not touching.  

Cover with compost or
bulb fibre and water well. 

The container should then be placed in a
cool spot such as a shed or bury it in a shady corner of the

Contrary to some beliefs darkness is not essential,
however, coolness is.  Do not
put in a black plastic sack
as this encourages mould. 

10-12 weeks young green shoots should appear (these will be paler if the pot
has been kept in the dark). 

When the shoots have reached about 5 cms.
(2 ins) in height bring the pot into a cool room and they should
flower in time for Christmas.  A lovely present for someone too.



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