Any soil is in fact suitable for flower bulbs unless it is extremely wet. Bulbs don't like to get their feet wet, so good water drainage is a prerequisite. Bulbs will also have difficulty with arid, sandy soil because of the lack of nutrients, but that problem can be solved by adding extra compost. Heavy clay soil, on the other hand, is often too rich: the soil particles adhere to each other, which makes it difficult for the bulb's delicate roots to absorb moisture and nutrients. This too can be solved by adding compost in combination with fine sand in order to break up the lumps of clay.
Many bulbs like the sun
If only because the areas they originate from, their natural habitat, thrive on a certain amount of light. There are however a number of bulbs that thrive both in the sun and in partial shadow, and there are even those that prefer places that hardly get any sunlight at all: in the shadow of trees and shrubs for instance. You can find more information on this on our 'growing website' (spring bulbs for shady spots)
Once you have made all the necessary preparations you can start planting:
- Make sure that the plant holes are deep enough. There's nothing worse - certainly if so much work has been put into the preparation - than bulbs that don't come out because they dry out as a result of being planted too shallow.
As a rule of thumb, the bulbs should be planted two to three times as deep as the height of the bulb. In other words: a bulb with a height of 5 cm must be planted
at a depth of at least 10 cm, and preferably 15 cm. It is often preferable to plant a bit deeper than too shallow. The best effect is obtained when you create little groups of bulbs all over your garden, like paint on a pallet. On the packaging you can usually find the recommended planting distance. Although bulbs that are planted too close together can not develop as freely, the flowers will look much better when they are planted slightly closer together.
- With the very smallest bulbs there is no need to make a distinction between the top or bottom sides, but larger bulbs that clearly have a top and the first signs of roots must of course be planted with the roots downwards.
- And remember that because water is very important to the development of the root system, it is important to keep an eye on the moisture level of the soil.
If this is normal to dry, and it doesn't rain for a couple of days after you plant
the bulbs, give them some extra water.
A lukewarm bath
Anemone and Eranthis also require another specific treatment: their roots are encouraged to grow if they are placed in a tray of lukewarm water the night before they are planted.
The newly planted bulbs will need watering, as mentioned before. During very cold spells you might want to give the bulbs some extra cover. You can use pine branches, straw, leaves or a layer of compost.
Then you can just sit back and wait until after a few months, Mother Nature will surprise you with a breathtaking display of flowers.