Autumn – the start of a new season for bulb crops

Already Karel Čapek in his book The Gardener’s Year wrote about October that it is: “…the first month of spring, the month of underground germination and sprouting, of hidden blossoming, of budding buds…”. This is also true of bulbous and tuberous flowers. If you want a garden full of colour right at the end of winter and the very beginning of spring, now is the time to start planting.

Planting into the site

Tubers and bulbs can be planted up to 6 weeks before the ground freezes, to give them enough time to establish themselves in the soil before frost arrives. However, planting should not be started too early either, lest they tend to sprout in the autumn.

The most popular hardy bulbs and tubers include:

  • crocuses
  • hyacinths
  • narcissi
  • tulips

The advantage of most of these plants is that they can be left in the habitat for several years. They only need to be replanted if they get too big in the bed or, conversely, the quality of the plants coming out of the same place starts to suffer from too many bulbs. The exception is tulips, which should be uprooted every year and replanted in autumn, after a period of dormancy. All of these bulbs require permeable soil and a sunny habitat; they are easily subject to rot in places where water is retained.

Plant only healthy tubers, those that are softened or visibly damaged will rot in the soil over winter anyway. The soil should be fertilised with compost or bone meal. Plant in a hole three times as deep as the width of the bulb or tuber, with the tip up and the roots down. Make sure the tuber is really at the bottom of the hole, otherwise water could collect in the gap and the plant could rot again.

Potting using the layered method

All these colourful spring flowers can also be planted in pots. However, about 5cm of gravel should be placed in the bottom to ensure adequate drainage. It is most effective to plant tubers and bulbs of different species and varieties in deeper containers, in layers according to size. This will ensure beautiful flowering pots throughout the spring season.