The first spring-flowering bulbs are already on sale in garden centres, nurseries and stores. But there's no need to panic! For most bulbs it's still early, and there are bags of time to get them planted. BUT, for a few bulbs, there is absolutely no time to lose!
Hyacinths and anemones
Harbingers of Spring
Snowdrops transplant better when actively growing - just after flowering and when the leaves are still green. This is known as planting 'in the green'.
That’s all well and good if you can find any at that particular time of year. For most of us, the best option is to start from dry bulbs bought now.
The key thing here is that the longer that the snowdrops are out of the soil, the harder it becomes to get them growing again.
Snowdrop- Galanthus S 'Arnott'
So my advice is to waste no time and plant them as soon as you can!
If you have no space in your borders, pop snowdrops into pots filled with potting compost and leave them outside to grow. Come January, you will be able to see the best place to plant them and can pop them into gaps.
Although Daffodils and Narcissi will start to grow roots if you plant them now, you do have more time to get these in the ground this autumn. Nevertheless, the sooner they are planted, the better the results will be next spring!
Daffodil Narcissus 'February Gold'
Winter Aconites and Anemone corms benefit from early planting. I think they also do better if soaked overnight in water before planting.
Winter Aconite Eranthus hyemalis
Autumn flowering bulbs
Naturally, autumn flowering bulbs need to be planted now.
So plant your Hardy Cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium) ASAP. Cyclamen are wonderful to grow in ‘rooty’ soil at the base of large trees that lose their leaves in winter.
After a few years, the cyclamen will seed, spread and carpet the ground with delicate, dainty pink or white flowers.
Cyclamen hederifolium and Iris foetidissima berries
Autumn flowering Crocus and Colchicum look bright when all else is looking autumnal. Both provide a splash of pink, mauve or white – depending on the variety - and need positioning carefully. They are perhaps not at their best if planted in grass, and while shelter is helpful, deep shade is not.
Bear in mind that the flowers of these appear before the leaves and that it is a good idea to apply mulch around them to reduce the likelihood of the papery looking blooms becoming mud-splashed.
Colchicum blooms with a soil mulch
Fresh from the climate-controlled stores; prepared Hyacinth could also be potted up now.
Check out Jo's article for more information:
Prepared hyacinth bulb flowers
As for all the other spring-flowering bulbs….let us enjoy the rest of the summer flowers before we get planting!
First published September 2019