South Africa has one of the best climates in the world. We don’t experience extremely cold winters which means you can garden all year round! Planting bulbs is a great way to bring seasonal change and their magnificent blooms are extravagant.
Soil preparation is key when planting anything. The soil needs to be conditioned to retain moisture and nutrients for your growing plants. Ensure to work in compost and bonemeal. If you have dogs rather use super phosphate to prevent them from digging up the garden area.
Use fresh potting soil for the potting of bulbs to ensure the soil is healthy and has enough nutrients for your growing bulbs.
Place bulbs in the right position
The planting of bulbs is sometimes tricky. Always ensure the pointy tip of the bulb is pointing up or, place the bulb on its side and the bulb will naturally correct itself as it grows.
Alternatively the rounded side of a bulb is often easier to identify. Think of the rounded smooth side as the base of the bulb and that it must sit in its planting position on its bottom.
Plant bulbs at the right time and at the correct depth
Bulbs become available at the right time for planting. Most winter-spring flowering bulbs become available in April however hyacinths and daffodils become available towards May.
When bulbs are planted at the wrong time they may not flower or the flower will be short lived. Planting bulbs too shallow or too deep could lead to poor growth performance or not growing at all.
All bulb packets have the planting period, depth requirement and flowering times clearly indicated on the front of the packet. Simply follow the instructions.
Layering bulbs is a great way of creating full mixes for a breath-taking flowering display. In pots this works very well! You can plant daffodils at 15cm below the soil surface then cover them up and plant a layer of muscari. Cover these up and plant pansies on top.
You will end up with beautiful Muscari poking its flowers through delightful colourful pansies, with tall daffodil leaves and its large blooms sitting happily above. What a sight!
Water and feed bulbs correctly
Bulbs are hungry little plant. Regular feeding is necessary in order to get the best flowering performance from these show-stoppers. Once they have finished flowering, continue to feed as the they are making new flowers for the next season. Don’t remove the leaves until they naturally turn yellow and fall to the ground.
Bulbs don’t need a lot of water, water well every 3-4 days. Too much watering can lead to rotting and death.
Daily watering may be necessary for bulbs planted in small pots. Monitor them closely.
Protect your bulbs from bugs
Bulbs are a good food source to a number of insects during the winter months. When planting your bulbs ensure to dust them with Efekto Bexadust. This will help protect your bulbs.
Prevent weed growth
Ensure to mulch above your bulbs to prevent weed growth. Weeds can compete for food, water and space, preventing your bulbs from growing properly. Weeds can also attract insects and diseases which may affect your bulbs.