Create a Spring Medley of Flowering Bulbs

Pots full of spring bulbs lift the spirits after a long winter, but you need to plan ahead to create the most spectacular displays. When temperatures dip in the fall, look for bulbs and check flowering times.

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Spring Bulbs Provide Spectacular DisplayEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

To create a display like this one, choose bulbs that flower at the same time to produce a dramatic show lasting a few weeks in mid-spring. Alternatively, in larger containers, you could opt for bulbs that flower in succession over some months, from early spring to early summer, deadheading blooms as they fade. Check labels for flowering periods.

When to Start: Mid-autumn
At Its Best: Early to late spring
Time to Complete: 1-1/2 hours

Materials Needed:

  • large frost-proof container
  • broken clay pot pieces
  • all-purpose potting soil
  • gravel
  • selection of bulbs: tulips, daffodils, grape hyacinth (Muscari)

Timing Tulips and Daffodils

Different types of tulip and daffodil flower at different times; early daffodils can appear in late winter, while late tulips may still be in bloom at the beginning of summer. To help you synchronize flowering, choose from the following bulbs, which all bloom at about the same time in mid-spring and last for several weeks.

Tulips
'Abba' (tomato red)
'Abu Hassan' (mahogany)
'Apricot Beauty' (salmon rose)
Emperor series (various colours)
'Mistress' (deep pink)
'Monte Carlo' (sulphur yellow)
'Negrita' (purple)
'Prinses Irene' (orange)
'Ruby Red' (scarlet)

Daffodils
'Geranium' (white and orange)
'Lemon Beauty' (lemon
and white)
'Lemon Drops' (white; lemon cup)
'Mount Hood' (white)
'Red Devon' (yellow; red cup)
'Salome' (white; pink cup)
'St Patrick's Day' (lemon)
'Sweetness' (golden yellow)
'Thalia' (white)

Image 1: Tulipa 'Madame Lefeber'; h12 inches
Image 2: Tulipa 'Diana’; h14 inches
Image 3: Tulipa 'Oriental Splendour'; h12 inches
Image 4: Daffodil 'Tahiti'; h18 inches
Image 5: Daffodil 'Dove Wings'; h12 inches

Prepare to Plant

Add pieces of clay pot or plastic to the base of the container to cover the drainage holes. Then add a 2" layer of gravel.

Plant in Layers

Cover the gravel with good-quality potting soil, but leave sufficient space to cover your bulbs to the right depth. Space the daffodil bulbs on the soil, ensuring that the pointed ends are at the top, and cover with more soil so that the tips of the bulbs are just visible.

Planting Daffodil BulbsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
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Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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