Aftercare

How to look after your bulbs

When to Plant Spring-Flowering Bulbs

The best time to plant most spring-flowering bulbs (including tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths) is in the autumn when the soil temperatures have cooled but before the ground freezes. That said, if you don’t get them down in time, you can plant bulbs on those occasional sunny days in January.

Spring Bulb Care

Most spring bulbs emerge and flower in spring -- then their foliage starts to fade and they go dormant by midsummer.

It's important to let the foliage naturally go yellow -- don't cut it off early and don't trim the foliage to try to make it look tidier. Instead, plant colourful annuals or perennials in front of your bulbs to hide the foliage from sight.

It is helpful to remove the flowers on most spring bulbs as soon as they start to fade. Otherwise your bulbs will put their energy into producing seed instead of a big crop of flowers the following year.

It's typically not necessary to fertilize spring-blooming bulbs, especially if you have average or rich soil. But if you do wish to feed your spring bulbs, feed them at planting time or just as they begin to emerge in spring.

When to Plant Summer-Blooming Bulbs

Most summer-flowering bulbs, on the other hand, are best planted in spring, after the soil has warmed and all danger of frost has passed. Hardy lilies are an exception, you can plant these bulbs in spring or fall.

Most bulbs do best in well-drained soil and are prone to rot if they're in a spot that stays wet or has very heavy clay. In heavy soils, it's often helpful to amend the planting hole with organic matter or even a several-inch-deep layer of sand under the bulb to increase drainage.

Summer Bulb Care

Summer bulbs, on the other hand, emerge in spring and flower in summer. Most come from warm-weather areas and don't like freezing temperatures.

Like spring-blooming bulbs, it's helpful to cut off the plants' flowers as they fade. In many species, this will encourage the plants to keep blooming.

If you live in a cold-winter climate, you'll probably need to dig the bulbs right around your first fall frost and store them in a cool place for the winter.

Because many summer-flowering bulbs enjoy rich soil, it can be helpful to fertilize them with a general-purpose garden fertilizer, especially if you have poor soil. Be sure to follow the directions on the fertilizer package to avoid damaging your plants with too much food.

More Planting Tips

Water your bulbs in well after you plant them. Then spread a layer of mulch over the soil to disguise your planting holes -- this can discourage animals digging up your bulbs.

Most spring bulbs emerge and bloom in spring -- then their foliage starts to fade and they go dormant by midsummer.

It's important to let the foliage naturally go yellow -- don't cut it off early and don't braid the foliage to try to make it look tidier. Instead, plant colourful annuals or perennials in front of your bulbs to hide the foliage from sight.

It is helpful to remove the flowers on most spring bulbs as soon as they start to fade. Otherwise your bulbs will put their energy into producing seed instead of a big crop of blooms the following year.

It's typically not necessary to fertilize spring-blooming bulbs, especially if you have average or rich soil. But if you do wish to feed your spring bulbs, feed them at planting time or just as they begin to emerge in spring.