Flower bulbs are easy-to-grow eye candy for the open ground, pot, and bouquet. There is an enormous range of both spring and summer flowering bulbs. Many return faithfully year after year. Some varieties, such as scilla, snowdrops, and some tulips, spread and multiply in the flowerbed.
When should flower bulbs be planted?
Plant spring-flowering bulbs in the fall
After a pale winter sleep, the garden comes alive with snowdrops, crocuses, winter aconite, scilla, and other cold-tolerant spring flowers. Soon these are joined by brilliant daffodils and crisp tulips. Spring flowering bulbs are planted in the fall – from September and as long as the soil can be worked.
Plant summer-flowering bulbs in the spring
Summer-flowering bulbs and tubers offer a long flowering period – in many cases all the way to frost. In this group, you will find garden beauties like lilies, gladioli, dahlias, calla lilies, and begonias. Summer-flowering bulbs are planted in the spring when the soil has warmed up.
Plant flower bulbs in the open ground or in a pot
Flower bulbs in the open ground
Plant the bulbs in fertilized soil with the pointed side upwards. A rule of thumb is that the bulb should be planted two to three times as deep as its height. A bulb planter can be very helpful for getting down into the ground easily. Cover the flower bulbs with soil and water. It’s a good idea to plant several bulbs together in striking groups.
Flower bulbs in a pot
It’s both beautiful and practical to grow flower bulbs in a pot. Choose a pot with holes in the bottom and start with leca balls for good drainage.
If you plant spring-flowering bulbs in an outdoor pot in the fall, it’s a good idea to protect the pot from winter cold – for example, by tying a couple of layers of newspaper around the pot for insulation. It gets colder in a pot than it does in the open ground during the winter.
Summer-flowering flower bulbs can be pre-grown indoors in the spring for earlier flowering. Plant the bulbs in a pot 6-8 weeks before transplanting. Place in a dark place and move the pot to a bright place when the shoots have appeared. When the risk of frost is over, the pots can be moved to the patio or balcony. Or you can plant the bulbs in the garden. Remember to first harden off the tender plants by bringing them inside during the night for the first time.
Perennial Flower Bulbs?
All tulips in our range can bloom for several years if given the right conditions. Normally we say that all are annual, and if they bloom for several years it’s just a bonus. This applies to virtually all tulips. No tulip is really perennial, but what happens is that if you give the tulip bulb the right conditions, it will form a new side bulb during the flowering period, which is the one that will bloom the next year.
Daffodils, however, are often recurrent. A safer choice if you want recurrent flowering. Most daffodils also have the pleasant characteristic that they spread and multiply!
What do we mean by the right conditions?
First and foremost, you need as large a bulb as possible, and we only offer the largest size of tulip bulb, namely 12+. This provides the highest quality, stronger flowers and a greater chance for them to bloom the following year. Furthermore, it is beneficial if you live in the southern parts of Sweden, as this minimizes the risk of the tulip bulb freezing if we have an extremely cold winter. The biggest danger for the bulb not returning is that it rots, which it can do if it becomes a really rainy winter.
When the tulip has finished blooming, you should not remove the foliage but let the flower wilt peacefully. When the flower lies there withered and looks “dead”, it is actually absorbing nutrients all the time and sending it down into the bulb. It is also important that after the blooming period is over, the bulb is not exposed to too much moisture. If the bulb is on open land and it rains a lot, it is important that it has been planted in well-drained soil.
With that said, there are some varieties that give us hobby gardeners the greatest chance to bloom for several years, and those are so-called Darwin tulips. In our assortment, it is Salmon van Eijk, Salmon Impression, and Apricot Pride that offer the greatest chance for recurring flowering the following year.
It sounds like a dish, but it is a way to plant spring-flowering bulbs. This layer-upon-layer planting results in a rich and long-lasting color parade.
To make a bulb lasagna, look for a large pot, hanging basket, or balcony box in the autumn. Make sure there are drainage holes and preferably start with leca pebbles at the bottom. Then choose some bulb varieties that bloom at different times – for example, crocuses, daffodils, and tulips.
Start with soil and place the largest bulbs on top of the soil layer. Keep a few centimeters of space between the bulbs. Then layer soil and bulbs with the smallest bulbs in the top layer. In the spring, the bulbs will take over from each other. It becomes a kind of relay bloom that can last from February to early June.
Winter storage of bulbs
Some bulbs and tubers are sensitive to cold and are therefore stored frost-free over the winter. This includes ranunculus, anemones, dahlias, begonias, cannas, gladioli, and some lilies. When the frost is approaching and the foliage has wilted, you bring in the pots or dig up the bulbs from the ground. Store the bulbs in a dark and cool but frost-free place. Soft bulbs, such as dahlias, are best stored in sawdust, peat, or other materials that retain a little moisture. Tulips are undemanding, but want it airy. Put them in paper bags or newspapers and avoid plastic.
Deer and flower bulbs
There are several ways to prevent deer from munching on the buds you have been looking forward to enjoying in full bloom. Try to mix into the planting flower bulbs that deer do not like. Some of these are daffodils, scilla, winter aconite, and allium. Another way is to spray a repellent that deters the deer, for example, Råväck or Trico Garden.
Author: Johanna Damm
Fact-checked by Erik Hoekstra
Latest updated 2022-09-01