The best bulbs to plant in the spring

Bright bulbs of color are one of the best ways to light up an outdoor space, long before most perennials, trees and shrubs have started growing.

Planting spring bulbs should result in a beautiful garden, abundant in bloom all summer long.

Here are some recommendations for the best bulbs to plant in the spring, according to gardening experts.

Bulbs to plant in spring

Planting bulbs for spring is a great way to ensure a colorful garden in the months to come.

Jonathan Pearce, head gardener at UK’s Pensthorpe Natural Park, suggests that spring is one of the best times to have your green space looking radiant in the weeks to come.

He said Newsweek“Now that we are looking ahead to the warmer months, there are many things we can all do to prepare our gardens for spring and beyond, including planting bulbs so they are ready to bloom throughout throughout the summer.

“There is a wide selection of bulbs that are better suited to warmer temperatures.”

Pearce’s favorites include:

  • Anemone
  • Cannabis
  • Crocosmia
  • Lilies,
  • Gladiolus
  • Bergonias
  • Dahlia
Bulbs are also inexpensive, come in a range of beautiful varieties and are very versatile.
AlexRaths/Getty Images

“Some of them are technically bulbs, tubers, or rhizomes, but they’re often grouped together as bulbs.”

All of these bulbs are known to bloom well and can usually be found at local garden stores and online at a reasonable price, usually costing much less than other flowers.

Fiona Jenkins, gardening expert at MyJobQuotebelieves that spring is a time to be bold with your choice of bulbs.

She said Newsweek“Spring is the perfect time to plant bright, bold dahlias and begonias. And if you want to get the most out of these popular flowers, choose colorful or long-blooming varieties.

“Try a mix of ‘Non-Stop’ begonias for longevity or ‘Pompon’ dahlia varieties for their eye-catching round flower heads.

“Lily bulbs are perfect for planting in early spring. They thrive in pots and borders, adding height and color to gardens. Some have giant blooms, others are patterned or fragrant, you giving plenty of choices to suit your style.

“The striped petal varieties such as ‘Stargazer’ and ‘Magic Star’ are certainly a crowd pleaser. But for something a little more unusual, you can opt for a spotted toad lily aka Tricyrtis hirta, or the vibrant colors and contrasting ‘Forever Susan’s lily.

“Crocosmia bulbs are another good choice for spring planting. These red and orange flowers add a splash of color to gardens and create a tropical vibe for summer.”

How to take care of your bulbs this spring

Planting spring bulbs in lawns is a brilliant method for brightening up large areas of green grass or hard-to-plant areas such as steep embankments.

Jonathan Pearce thinks it’s important to note that these bulbs “need full sun to grow and thrive” and don’t want to be planted too early “so timing is going to be key”.

He said: “Many of these spring bulbs will have been lifted from the outside in the fall when they are dead and moved indoors to ensure they are not damaged by frost, especially Bergonias and Cannas.”

He added that the ideal planting environment will feature a soil temperature of around 10 or 11 degrees otherwise they will rot, which means it is therefore vital to understand where in the soil some of these bulbs prefer to be planted. .

large flowerbed with multi-colored hyacinths
A large flower bed with multicolored hyacinths. Planting bulbs in the spring is a great way to plan a colorful garden during the summer months.
Kateryna Mashkevych/Getty Images

Pearce said, “For example, lilies need to be placed deeper in the ground – about six inches – than traditional fall bulbs, so they can grow in richer, more fertile soil, while nerines and bergonias can be planted closer to the surface.

“It might also be worth getting some sharp sand for the lilies and putting those bulbs on top, so they don’t rot.”

Understanding and adapting to the soil type of the garden is also essential, as Pearce notes: “Some spring bulbs prefer drier soils, while others would benefit from being potted first in a greenhouse or on windowsill, before moving them outside and planting them in flower beds.”

“Of course, if you choose to plant your spring bulbs in pots, it gives you extra control because you can use whatever soil or compost you prefer – and you can tailor it to the bulb’s specific needs.

“Also important to note is that you can start the whole process in pots to give the bulbs a quicker start and avoid the possibility of late frosts that can occur in some areas.”

The best bulbs for pots

Spending little time planting spring bulbs in pots will ensure an abundance of colorful blooms during the summer months.

Pearce thinks gardeners can experiment a bit by planting a variety of bulbs in different pots, potentially allowing them to rotate the display, bringing those at their peak to the fore.

He said: “Cannas and bergonias are a great example of bulbs that can start in pots, but can easily be transferred outside when ready and the temperature allows.

“For spring bulbs that are planted in raised beds, be sure to treat them like a pot, as the soil will dry out much faster.

“My biggest suggestion is to plant in threes – don’t just plant in ones or twos, as the rule of three will give you a better overall aesthetic to enjoy in your garden.

“You can also place different bulbs in the same area, but since they will bloom at different times, your outdoor space will have a wonderful selection of colors over the next few months.”

Flower bulbs in pots ready for planting
Flower bulbs in pots ready for planting in the flowerbed. Growing bulbs that do best in low light conditions, including wood anemones, squills, narcissus and snowdrops, are best suited for shady gardens.
Vladdeep/Getty Images

How to plant spring bulbs

Although the majority of bulbs prefer to be planted at around two or three times their own height, this can however vary, which means it is important to check the package instructions.

However, gardeners who decide to “force” the bulbs indoors should plant them much shallower, with the tips of their shoots growing just above ground level.

Jonathan Pearce of Pensthorpe Nature Park said Newsweek: “In terms of equipment, my main suggestions are a good pitchfork, a decent spade and a trowel too.”

“Depending on the type of soil and if you’re repotting the bulbs, compost would also be a great addition, as well as leaf mold to hold more nutrients in the soil.

“Here at Pensthorpe, we also consider several external factors when choosing our spring bulbs.

“Along with native and visiting bird species in the nature reserve, we choose bulbs that we know won’t be destroyed by wildlife here – narcissi are left alone, but tulips are often a favorite to eat.

“Our soil is also mostly free-draining, so that’s another factor we need to consider. Spring is also the perfect time to move your fall-planted bulbs.

“After all, you know exactly where they are, so you can quite easily change their position in the bed and spread them out a bit, dividing them into four or five bulbs for example.”

Close up colorful tulips in the tulip field
Close up of colorful tulips in a field. Tulips, hyacinths and daffodils are all classic choices for a spring garden.
Kanonsky/Getty Images


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