Winter Care: Spring Flowering Bulbs

Bulbs are the epitome of nature’s talent for packaging, containing within themselves all the essentials they need to grow to provide gorgeous blooms year after year if well cared for. Your spring bulbs may be snug underground awaiting the warm weather of Spring but they need to be cared for until then. Bulbs are designed by nature to withstand cold winter temperatures. Indeed they rely on winter’s cold to trigger the biochemical process necessary to bring the bulb to flower in spring, but to help you get the best height, colour and performance out of your spring bulbs, here are some must-know tips for caring for your spring bulbs after they are planted.

General Tips

  • During a warm winter spell, the bulb leaves may start to sprout but do not worry as the foliage and flower bulbs can withstand freezing temperatures without damage. Only when brittle stems are broken, or the weather changes are too abrupt will be when the flowers suffer.
  • If you wish to feed your spring bulbs, feed them at planting time or just as they begin to emerge in the spring.
  • In colder areas, apply a nice layer of mulch over the bulb bed once the ground temperatures have dropped.

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  • For sprouting Daffodils, water sparingly as Daffodils do not require much care but some watering will help establishing roots.
  • Potted Daffodils require regular watering as the soil tends to dry out quicker.
  • If there is no snow cover, the bulbs will also need water throughout the winter.
  • Apply a low-nitrogen, high-potash (potassium) fertilizer after flowering if bulbs are not performing as desired.

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  • Apply fertilizer after bulbs flower if your spring is long and temperate; bulbs will have a chance to use the extra nutrients to produce bigger carbohydrate stores.
  • In late February, remove mulches from snowdrops and crocuses so the shoots can come through.
  • In February and March, keep plastic milk jugs or other coverings on hand to protect the flowers of crocuses and other early bloomers against the return of severe weather.
  • Do not let the soil dry out. If the ground is fairly dry in the spring, make sure to water sparingly.

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  • Water during the autumn/ winter with a water-soluble fertilizer to nourish the bulbs as they develop new roots and top growth. Your bulbs will survive without fertilizer, but providing extra nutrients encourages more flowers, larger blossoms and longer life for your bulbs.

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  • After the tulips bulbs are planted, you need to water them thoroughly and then cover the area with a mulch of pine bark or shredded leaves to protect them.
  • You can build up their strength further by giving them a liquid feed every 10 to 14 days while they’re still in leaf.

Flower Aftercare

  • After your spring bulbs have bloomed, remove spent flowers of large-flowered bulbs, such as Tulips or Daffodils, as soon as they fade.
  • When the season’s blooms are past, your snowdrops need to store energy for next year’s show. Allow the leaves to photosynthesize (process sunlight to produce food) until they yellow and wither, before removing the spent foliage. Trimming still-green foliage will reduce plants’ ability to nourish next year’s flowers, resulting in fewer, smaller flowers.
  • Six weeks after blooming is when it will be safe to mow the green leaves of any naturalized crocus and snowdrops on your lawn.

Have you completed your gardening jobs for January?

Click HERE to check out our garden job list.

Good luck with your flowers this spring!

February Plant of the Month: Snowdrops (Galanthus)

There’s nothing quite like the sight of delicate Snowdrops bursting into flower to signal that winter is almost at an end. The sight of snowdrops appearing late in January is a cheerful reminder of the warmer, brighter days to come.

Galanthus nivalis are single flowering, with three inner petals marked green at the tips encased in milky white outer petals and strappy, grass-like foliage. These traditional small-flowering Snowdrops give a barren winter garden a breath of life, and give a wonderful woodland feel if planted in drifts beneath a deciduous tree with Hostas. The flowers has a sweet, honey scent that will attract bees. You could plant in patio pots or window boxes for a neater, more compact display.

Double Snowdrops boast all of the same features, but with novelty double flowers as a twist to the early spring favourite.

Both are great naturalisers, so will multiply and come back year after year. They are robust and easy to grow and have earned a RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Planting

You can plant dry Bulbs in the autumn or from January to March you will be able to buy snowdrops in the green.

In the Green simply means that you plant the snowdrops whilst they are in leaf. You can buy them like this, or when your bulbs come through you can lift dense clumps of snowdrops and transplant them elsewhere which will create a better display but also give the snowdrops more space and encourage them to flower better next year.

Snowdrops prefer shade, and work really well amongst shrubs or under trees. Ideally they like fertile, moist but well drained soils.

Bulbs: You can buy and plant Snowdrop bulbs in the autumn for the following early spring. Plant in moist, well-drained soil at least 5cm deep and 5cm apart. They can be grown successfully in pots and containers but only temporarily and will need to be lifted after their growing season.

In the Green: transplanted with their green foliage intact giving you a guaranteed 100% success rate. Make sure to water well once planted, to encourage their roots to re-establish with the soil.

These RHS award winners will naturalise well and you can just let them die back at the end of their season so require little after care. If you get heavy, dense clumps of snowdrops in one place lift and divide the clump when the foliage starts to fade, careful not to break any of the roots.

Make sure the soil does not fully dry out in summer.

Our Snowdrops in the Green offer guaranteed pre-grown success, supplied in the green ready to be planted straight in the ground.

Click here to shop Bulbs in the Green

 

February Plant of the Month – Snowdrops

Snowdrops (Galanthus)

Snowdrops are the start of it all!

The sight of snowdrops appearing late in January is a cheerful reminder of the warmer, brighter days to come. Happening on them in the wild is a real treat, but they are easy to grow and radially available so why not grow them in your own garden?

There are a huge variation in size and shapes, and they are great naturalisers, so will multiply and come back year after year.

You can buy Single or Double Snowdrops in the Green in January – March.

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Single Snowdrops (Glanthus nivalis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most common and easiest to grow is….. Glanthus nivalis, also known as the common or garden snowdrop. They are robust and easy to grow and have earned a RHS Award of Garden Merit. These are single flowering, with three inner petals marked green at the tips encased in milky white outer petals and strappy grass like foliage. The flowers has a sweet, honey scent that will attract bees. These traditional small-flowering Snowdrops give a barren winter garden a breath of life, and give a wonderful woodland feel if planted in drifts beneath a deciduous tree with Hostas. You could plant in patio pots or window boxes for a neater, more compact temporary display. Top quality plants supplied. Flowers January to March. Height 10cm.

AGM-Snowdrops

Giant snowdrops

The same features as the common variety but much taller, perfect for use as cut flowers. Galanthus elwesii is a spectacular giant snowdrop originating from eastern Asia. Elwesii’s honey scented nodding flowers are formed from an outer whorl of snowy white tepals encasing smaller inner tepals, flared and marked green at the tips. Fine 15-20cm stems sport dainty strap shaped leaves. Galanthus Woronowii, also known as the Broad Leaf Snowdrop, is a giant white snowdrop with green markings. It’s beautiful nodding honey scented flower heads can appear as early as January. Both varieties hold the RHS Award of Garden Merit. At this time of year we can only offer Snowdrops in the Green but these varieties will become available as bulbs in our autumn catalogues.

Double Snowdrops (Flore Pleno)

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The double form of the common snowdrop is a hardy and reliable variety that also holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Russian Snowdrops (Puschkinia Libanotica)

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Puschkinia are a little known spring bulb, however, it is one of the easiest to grow and is very reliable. They produce dainty white flowers with a blue blush that forms a stripe effect on the petals. This hardy bulb will naturalise and multiply like snowdrops producing a carpet of colour in March and April after the snowdrops have flowered, but before the bluebells. This fabulous pretty flower holds the prestigious Award of Garden Merit. These can be brought as bulbs from June, throughout Autumn.

Planting

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They prefer shade, and work really well amongst shrubs or under trees. Ideally they like fertile, moist but well drained soils.

Bulbs: Plant in moist, well-drained soil at least 5cm deep and 5cm apart. They can be grown successfully in pots and containers but only temporarily and will need to be lifted after their growing season.

In the Green: transplanted with their green foliage intact giving you a guaranteed 100% success rate. Make sure to water well once planted, to encourage their roots to re-establish with the soil.

They naturalise well and you can just let them die back at the end of their season so require little after care. If you get heavy, dense clumps of snowdrops in one place lift and divide the clump when the foliage starts to fade, careful not to break any of the roots.

Make sure the soil does not fully dry out in summer.

Video Planting Tutorial

In this video, our resident gardening expert Jeff demonstrates how-to plant Snowdrop bulbs into pots for advice on achieving a great early addition to your garden.

Tip

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Team Snowdrops with Winter Aconites for a cheerful burst of colour, the sudden appearance of milk white and zesty yellow in February can’t help but bring cheerful thoughts of spring to mind!