Beautiful bulbs   –   The promise of colour

Autumn is the perfect time for planting bulbs. The cool nights, low soil temperatures and shorter days of April make it an excellent time to plant spring-flowering bulbs.

The majority of bulbs grow better when they are planted in the sun. Some bulbs, however, such as freesias, alliums, and hyacinths prefer a shady spot that gets full sun for a few hours in the early morning or late afternoon.

Here are some important pointers if you are planning to plant bulbs:

Read the packaging label, you can’t tell the different colours apart just by looking at the bulbs. This is important if you are going to group them together.

Make sure you plant bulbs in areas where the soil drains well. The Dutch say, “bulbs don’t like wet feet.”

The soil needs to be turned over and dug down to about 30 centimetres to aerate it sufficiently. Mix in some compost and a handful of planting fertiliser and water the ground well. You can find the instructions on the packaging to see the depth that the specific bulbs can be planted but a rule of thumb is to plant the bulbs at a depth of three times the actual height of the bulb.

For the best results, put a tablespoon of river sand at the bottom of each hole before planting – this will aid with drainage. When planting a lot of bulbs together, find out what height they grow to, and then space them accordingly. Water about twice a week, and wait for the colour show to start!