When gardening, planning ahead is essential in order to achieve the best results for the future. The autumn season is a good time to carry out many jobs that will show results over the coming years and one of the most satisfying of these jobs is planting bulbs that will flower in the spring.
There are hundreds of different species of flowering bulbs that will perform throughout the year but autumn is the best time to buy and plant bulbs for a spring displays. One of the most recognisable and enjoyed spring flowers are the Narcissus, commonly known as Daffodils.
These harbingers of spring come in all shapes and sizes, colours and flowering times so it is important to plan where, and when you want the display. It is also important to match the best types to the required planting area, getting it wrong will be evident for all to see next spring!
Some daffodils varieties are tall and will look good in borders or larger lawns but will look totally out of scale if planted in a small rockery or small container, likewise if the dwarf species are planted to give a naturalistic effect in long rough grass they will be smothered and not seen. There will are suitable sized varieties to grow in every planting locations.
Daffodils come in a multitude of colours from rich yellows to white with orange centres, large single flowers with long trumpets to multi stem double flowers. Some start flowering in very early spring while others varieties can extend the season into April, the choice is all yours.
Selecting and Planting
If buying bulbs from a garden center, always buy the best looking. They should be firm with no sign of softness or a shrivelled appearance and certainly no indication of mould growing on the surface.
The soil in the planting area should not be waterlogged as this will rot the bulbs during the winter months and encourage the spread of diseases. A free draining, slightly heavy soil will grow most types of Narcissus.
For a naturalised look when planting in a lawn scatter the bulbs on the surface and plant them where they land, nature did not intend them to be in straight lines!
Planting depth is important, three times the height of the bulb is the recommended depth for many Narcissus varieties, too shallow and they will be damaged by drought or soil cultivation, too deep, especially on heavy soil and they could rot off.
After flowering, dead heading by removing the old flowers saves the plant from using up valuable energy reserves on producing seed instead of developing the bulb and the next years food reserves. Always allow the leaves to turn brown so the natural food reserves go back down into the bulb to be stored for future growth. Tying the foliage up while it still green also restricts the flow of nutrients back into the bulb. The important thing is to leave the foliage in place until it has gone brown, and then cut it off.
Where good growing conditions prevail, bulbs can continue flowering over many years representing incredibly good value with very little maintenance required. Each year their flowering display will bring a welcome sense of spring after what can appear to be a long winter period.
Blue Sky Plants in association with The Gardening Times are currently promoting a limited time offer for gardeners whereby readers can claim 50 wild daffodil bulbs for only £11.99 plus P&P. Click here to take advantage of this offer.