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Gardeners Advice

Bulb Planting - Intro & Advice

Bulb Planting - Intro & Advice

Posted By: Category: Plant Care, Seasonal Advice



Download this guide as a pdf or pick on up from Riverside!


At the end of the winter, before the earliest perennials make an appearance, spring bulbs are often the first things to flower when the ground is frozen and sky is grey, chasing away the winter blues…

Spring bulbs flower in the sun and shade because they flower so early, they can get the sunlight and energy before the trees and the shrubs create a leafy canopy and shade the ground. They also can cope with a wide range of soil types from clay to sand. They require some moisture in the spring but the rest of the year, need very little water and no attention as inside every bulb is a concentrate of energy making them super easy to grow and allows you to change the appearance of your pots and borders as often as you like!

Many bulbs are loved by bees and other pollinators making them important early nectar source as they emerge out of hibernation. Weather dependant, bulbs can start flowering as early as December through to early summer.


Borders, Lawns, Beside Ponds, Pots/Planters, Roadsides/Paths, Under trees/shrubs



Choose a spot (sun or shade) that has well drained soil. Bulbs do not like to be wet as they will rot! Some exceptions to this rule are Fritillaries, Camas and Galanthus, as they naturally cope with seasonal flooding and so can be grown by ponds and rivers.

Plant the bulbs the depth recommended on the packet. For example, plant tulips as deep as you can (minimum 20cm) as this will prevent them getting eaten and most (not all) successfully return next year.

We recommend using a bulb planter, horticulture grit and bulb fibre added to your soil. This can help with the soil’s drainage.


If you have limited space, window sills/boxes, small pots, table tops or steps, you can create spring displays using dwarf varieties of bulbs.

Mix and match with other winter or spring flowering plants like cyclamen, primulas, heathers & ferns.


Bulbs for Pots

Iris Reticulata

Anemone Blanda, Balkan Anemone

Eranthis hyemalis, Winter Aconite

Galanthus, Native Snowdrops

Narcissus, Daffodils eg. ‘February Gold’, ‘Jetfire’, ‘Hawera’, ‘Tete a Tete’, ‘Minnow’

Anemone Coronaria, Poppy anemone


Scillia Chionodoxa, Glory of the Snow

Tulips, eg. Tulipa ‘little beauty’, ‘Seadov, ‘Salmon Gem’’

Muscari, Grape Hyacinth

Fritillaria Meleagaris, Guinea Hen Flowers

Fritillaria Michailovskyi, Michael’s Flower




When your spring bulbs have finished flowering and your shady perennials are emerging and covering the ground, their foliage will hide the dying foliage of your bulbs. Leave your bulbs to die back a disappear and they will burst into life next year.


Galanthus, Native Snowdrops



Scillia Chionodoxa, Glory of the Snow

Narcissus, Daffodils, eg. Minnow, Golden Echo

Muscari, Grape Hyacinth

Hyacinthoides, Native Bluebells

Leucojum, Summer Snowflake

Arums, e.g. Lord of the Ladies, Calla Lilies

Fritillaria Meleagaris, Guinea Hen Flowers

Fritillaria Michailovskyi, Michael’s Flower

Anemone Blanda, Balkan Anemone

Anemone Nemorosa, Wood Anemone

Cyclamen Hederifolium, Ivy-Leaved Cyclamen

Cyclamen Coum, Eastern Sowbread

Convallaria Majalis, Lily of the Valley

Camassia, Camas/Wild Hyacinth

Eranthis hyemalis, Winter Aconite

The majority of these bulbs are perfect for creating a ‘woodland feel’ planting scheme due to the naturalising over the years and creating a woodland carpet.


Again, these will fill your garden and pots with colour long before your perennials start to wake up. Bulbs like tulips, allium, narcissi, and fritillaries bring strong colour and structure to your pots and borders. Also, some are great as cut flowers and pretty seed heads long after the flower has faded.


All Alliums, eg. Allium moly ‘Jeannine’, Allium ‘Purple Rain’

All Tulips, eg. ‘Ballerina’, ‘Angelique’, ‘Queen of the Night’

Narcissi, Daffodils, eg. ‘Tete a Tete’, Sailboat’, ‘Falconet’’

Muscari, eg. ‘Pink Sunrise’, ‘Armeniacum’

Crocus eg. Chrysanthus ‘Jeannine d’Arc’

Cyclamen, eg. Cyclamen persicum, Cyclamen coum

Scillas, eg. Scilla siberica

Hyacinthoides, Native Bluebells

Fritillaria Maxima

Fritillaria Rubra

Chinodoxa persica, Ivory Bells

Iris Reticulata

If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to pop in and ask our friendly & knowledgeable staff

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Riverside Garden Centre, Clift House Road
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Get in touch! 0117 966 7535 Mon-Sat: 9.30-5.30 Sun: 10.30-4.30

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