These planting instructions will give you general information on when and how to plant your bulbs and how to take good care of them. But some bulbs have specific preferences, for example: they like some shade or they want to be soaked before planting. On the product pages you will find the specific information that is needed to make each of our bulbs a success.
Most bulbs love sunny places
Most bulbs need an open planting site where they receive at least 4 hours of sunlight (not sunshine) a day. Bulbs that are too much in the shade will only grow leaves and that is their way to say that they’re not happy. Some species however do well in half or even full shade. If you have a shady garden use our wizards (Bulb Advisor or Style Advisor) to find those bulbs that grow well in shady places.
Cultivation of soil
In their native habitats bulbs used to grow on slopes where drainage was naturally good. Therefore the vast majority of bulbs need well-drained soil or they will rot. Drainage and moisture conditions in your garden can always be improved. If there is any doubt about the drainage, plant bulbs in raised beds or mix sharp sand or grit with the soil in the planting area. There are a few bulbs that will grow well in moist areas; our wizards will find them for you if needed.
Always cultivate garden soil before planting anything. This makes planting so much easier and helps the bulbs’ new roots to get off to a good start. Bulbs that are left in the ground for next year’s season prefer some organic material or compost mixed with the planting soil. When your bulbs have been planted, water the soil well.
The best planting distance depends on the size of the flower and on the effect that you want to achieve. For a more natural look the bulbs should be planted further apart than indicated on the product page. In containers the bulbs should be planted close together, but they should never touch.
The depth of the planting hole will depend upon the size of the bulb. As a general rule you should make the planting hole two to three times the height of the bulb. Be sure to plant the bulbs the right way: the root system down and the pointed part up.
Planting in pots and containers: very decorative
Many bulbs make lovely container flowers. Pots full of bulbs are ideal for balconies and patios, next to your door or even indoor. The secret is to plant your bulbs in layers inside the container. Take care to select a pot that is sufficiently wide and deep. 10 inches high is a nice size. Isolate the pots with bubbly plastic on the inside and place crocks or gravel on the bottom to evacuate the water.
Then apply a layer of soil. The first layer of bulbs consists of the tallest and latest flowering type. Then some more soil, enough to totally cover the first layer. The second layer of bulbs has to be of an intermediary size and grow when the first layer has died back. If your container is deep enough, at least 14 inches, you can place a third layer. You can crowd the bulbs to quite an extent for a good flowering display.
Planting in grass: a magic meadow
Planting bulbs in grass is more difficult than in soil as you need to pierce the grass. To get the most enchanting effect, you should put different kinds of bulbs in a basket and give it a good shake to mix them up. Plant a small handful randomly around you, but don’t scatter or throw them. As for the ratios, 15-20 small bulbs can afford to have 6 medium and 1 or 2 large bulbs next to them. That is the ideal concentration. A warning: strew some sand on the grass the last few times you mow it before starting your Magic Meadow. This helps you to avoid that the grass that was used to regular mowing, grows like crazy when you stop mowing it.
Spring flowering bulbs
Spring flowering bulbs are planted in fall. The bulbs are best planted as soon as possible once you get them home because they need some time to develop roots before the soil gets frosted. Spring flowering bulbs need the cold to reset their biological clock: a new season is beginning. In zones 8-10 spring flowering bulbs should be refrigerated at 40º - 45º F, see our paragraph on indoor forcing.
Summer flowering bulbs
Summer flowering bulbs are planted in mid spring. Bulbs are best planted as soon as possible once you get them home. Summer flowering bulbs will grow well in most climates (4-10). Unlike spring flowering bulbs summer flowering bulbs do not need a cold period to reset their biological clock. In fact most summer bulbs are not winter hardy! As a general rule we advice the following:
In climate zones 4 and 5
The bulbs should be lifted in the fall if you want to use them again next year.
In climate zone 6
Give the bulbs some protection from the frost by covering the soil with evergreens or mulch.
In climate zones 7 and higher
No protection needed.
Autumn flowering bulbs
In autumn gardens tend to become bare and grey with winter around the corner. Autumn flowering bulbs are a nice way to give your garden some colour in this period. Autumn flowering bulbs are planted in the summer. Most autumn flowering bulbs are winter hardy.