Dig in and wait for an explosion of colour.
How to plant spring bulbs for a stunning and fragrant show.
GET YOUR GARDENING GLOVES OUT – April and May are the ideal months to plant spring-flowering bulbs, which are equally at home in garden beds as pots on the balcony, and are also great as living flowers indoors during their moment of glory.
Treated as a long-lasting bunch of flowers, flowering bulbs make a pretty gift or table centrepiece, coming back to amaze year after year. For pots, choose from winter-flowering hyacinths, Erlicheer jonquils and miniature daffodils, spring-flowering Dutch iris, ranunculi and tulips, or later-flowering lilies.
YOU WILL NEED TULIP BULBS, $29 FOR 25; HYACINTH BULBS, $28 FOR 25; FREESIA BULBS, $4 FOR 25; AND MINIATURE DAFFODIL BULBS, $35 FOR 25, FROM TESSELAAR BULBS; PREMIUM POTTING MIX, $6 FOR 25L, FROM KMART; AND SUPERCHARGE BULB BOOST, $11.68 FOR 500ML, FROM BUNNINGS
STEP 1 Make sure each bulb has clean skin, is free of mould and is firm to the touch before planting. If a bulb feels unusually light, it may be dry and dead inside. To grow tulips you’ll need to pop your bulbs in the fridge for four to eight weeks before planting. Since most Australian regions don’t reach temperatures low enough to initiate flowering, this refrigeration period creates a false “winter” for the European natives. Freesias are a good choice for the first-timer – they are very easy to grow and fairly hardy. STEP 2 Don’t plant bulbs upside down. Identify remnant roots from their last season of growth and make sure these point down when you plant them.
STEP 3 Bulbs can grow in soil, potting mix or gravel, so long as they are fed (using bulb fertiliser), watered and can drain freely. In potting mix or soil, plant bulbs two-and-a-half-times deeper than the bulb is wide. In gravel, rest them with the bulb exposed, but so the roots can grow into water. Wait patiently – by spring you’ll have a riot of colour at your place!