Getting started with bulbs in the garden

Spring flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, jonquils and freesias are usually the first things that come to mind when bulbs are mentioned. To enhance and prolong flowering it is a good idea to liquid feed them every few weeks during their growing season from Autumn to flowering time with a product a general purpose fertiliser. Once they have finished flowering do not trim the leaves, as this will stop the bulbs regenerating for next year.

Late winter to spring is a time to plant some of the reliable summer and autumn flowering bulbs such as dahlias, belladonna lily (Amaryllis belladonna) and spider lilies (Nerine and Lycoris). All of these bulbs will naturalise in all but the warmest parts of Australia so it is possible to give them a permanent position where they will flower each year.

The most commonly grown bulbs such as daffodils, tulips and hyacinths are either flowering or have finished flowering by October. At this time of year the spring flowering bulbs are still actively growing and accumulating food to store for next year’€™s growth cycle. Thus it is very important to allow the leaves to remain on the bulb until they die back of their own accord as the nutrients produced and stored by the foliage is being actively transferred to the bulb at this time of year. Once the leaves have finished it is a good idea to keep the bulbs on the dry side if possible as they may rot out during the summer if they are left in the round (although some of the tougher bulbs such as jonquils can be left in situ).