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It is time to plant your winter-spring flowering bulbs

Published on April 6th 2021
A close up of food
Autumn is the season to get your winter and spring flowering bulbs into the ground, and you don’t need a garden to do so, a container will work just as well.
A close up of a green plant
Just when you thought it was time to sit back and relax as our gardens move into winter sleep, we are here to remind you about these beauties that will reward you heavily, come spring! Bulbs, with their minimal effort, are so rewarding with spectacular colours and an array of magnificent flower shapes and sizes.
A close up of a flower
Autumn is the perfect time to plant your winter and spring-flowering bulbs. Indigenous bulbs include Babiana, Freesia, Sparaxis, Cyrtanthus, Tulbaghia, Ixia, Chasmanthe, Tritonia, Lachenalia, Daubenya and Ornithogalum. Exotic bulbs include Hyacinths, Daffodils, Tulips, Ranunculus, Muscari, and Dutch irises.
Indigenous bulbs

Baboon root

Babiana spp.

Two white Freesia flowers


Freesia spp.


Sparaxis spp.

Fire lily

Cyrtanthus spp.

Some Tulbaghia in flower with green leaves

Society Garlic

Tulbaghia spp.


Ixia viridiflora


Chasmanthe spp.

Blazing star

Tritonia spp.

Cape cowslip

Lachenalia spp.


Daubenya spp.

Star of Bethlehem

Ornithogalum spp.

Exotic bulbs


A bit of planning will pay off in the long run. If you consider mixing a number of different bulbs with other plant species or perhaps you are thinking of over-planting* - planning is essential. A general rule of thumb is to plant the taller bulbs in the back and the shorter bulbs towards the front.
Top tip: Place a stick into the soil or even a small pebble where you have planted your bulbs to ensure you don’t damage them when planting other plants.
*Over-planting: When you plant other plants 'on top' of your bulbs in a garden bed or container. This means that your bulbs will push through these plants and then flower above them.
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Soil preparation

Soil is the foundation of success for any plant. Enrich your soil with compost, bone meal and some superphosphate a while before planting.
Top tip: Place a spoon of sand at the bottom of each hole, beneath the bulb when planting. This will aid the drainage of water.
A pot with food in it

Bulb position

Yup, it is possible, you can plant a bulb upside down if you don’t look carefully. A general rule of thumb is to ensure that the ‘pointed tip’ shows upward. Alternatively, you can plant the bulb on its side, if you are unsure, and it will naturally correct itself.
Ensure that you follow the packet instructions on the depth requirements for a specific bulb. The growth and success of your bulb will be impacted by planting the bulb too deep or too shallow.
Watsonia, Muscari, Hyacinth, Rununculus, Lachenalia.

In containers

Choose your pot size and depth according to the type of bulb you plan to plant.
Consider layering your bulbs! Plant the bulb that requires the most amount of depth at the very bottom, cover it up with soil and plant the next layer of bulbs on top. Again, cover up with soil and plant something like pansies, alyssum, viola or lobelia on top of everything! Just imagine the beautiful flowering display that you will have!
Top tip: Consider over-planting or layering as the top layer will act as a living mulch, retaining water and keeping the soil cool.


  • Bulbs are hungry. Feed them regularly.
  • Don't overwater bulbs that are planted in your garden, this can cause rotting.
  • Water more regularly if you planted your bulbs in pots.
  • Add mulch around your bulbs to prevent weed growth.
  • Keep the leaves on the plant until they naturally turn yellow or brown and fall to the ground.
  • Dig them up and store them in a breathable container such as a paper envelope in a dark and dry place.
A green plant in a garden
Ixia sp.

Bulb suppliers

The SA Bulb Company

Bulb export company and retail nursery offering a wide range of irises, pelargoniums and many other interesting specimens.

A close up of a flower


Hadeco has grown from humble beginnings to become one of the largest organisations of its kind in the world and South Africa's leading bulb flower producer. This has been achieved through a relentless pursuit of quality and a constant search for new and interesting bulb varieties for both gardens and the cut flower trade. Hadeco is also the single largest supplier of cut flowers to the Johannesburg flower market. Hadeco offers over 200 bulb varieties in Southern Africa. Through ongoing research and field trials, they ensure that South African gardeners are offered a constantly growing choice of new bulb varieties that are suited to our diverse climate. Hadeco is also committed to bringing our indigenous treasures to the gardening public.

A plant in a garden

Shire Bulbs

Located at the foot of the Amatola Mountains near Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, the Shire Wild Bulb Nursery lies on the edge of the indigenous afro-montane forest. Our focus is on indigenous bulbs of the Eastern Cape region, but we also grow a number of winter rainfall species from the Western Cape. The Shire eco-lodge, whose chalets rest 2 steps from the forest edge, is an ideal getaway destination to explore the Mountain grasslands and their wealth of wildflowers. Guided day tours can be arranged where you will be taken to our favourite spots.

A close up of a flower

African Bulbs

Welcome to the world of South African wild bulbs and flowers. Specialising in bulbs, seeds from our small nursery in Napier and Botanical Tours of South Africa.

A vase filled with yellow flowers

Cape Seed and Bulbs

Cape Seed and Bulbs is a prize-winning nursery in Stellenbosch, near Cape Town, South Africa. The nursery is run by Jim Holmes. They specialise in propagating indigenous South African plants and rare plants from all over the world. They are famous for their yellow Clivias, South African Bulbs and unique hybrids. Jim Holmes grows and propagates unusual African plants and bulbs, including numerous Oxalis species, a list is sent on request.

A green plant

Linus's Indigenous Bulbs

I'm a specialist Summer rainfall Bulb grower. I specialise in grassland and rarer species of bulbs and other plants.

A close up of food

Lifestyle Seeds

Suppliers of indigenous South African seed Please note that seeds are sold in quantities of 100 seeds (the price on the website is for 100 seeds). Bulbs and live plants are priced per plant. Rare seeds are priced as in their product description. For all of us here at Lifestyle Seeds, Indigenous South African plants and seeds are our passion. We go to great lengths to be able to offer you a large variety of freshly picked seeds, and good quality plants and bulbs. Our seeds are checked and counted by hand to make sure you get only the best quality and to ensure that you get maximum results. We also offer rare plants and seeds, caudex plants and caudiciform plants. We always try to work with Mother Nature and make sure that we do not damage plants, insects or animals. We try to run our office and business as eco-friendly as possible and we have planted more than 400 indigenous trees on our premises during the last year. Of course we will keep on planting more! Our hot water is generated by solar panels while we use Power Saints and energy saver light bulbs to decrease our electricity usage.

Please share your bulb-planting-sessions with us by using the hashtag #floweringbulbs !