When to Plant Bulbs. List and Calendar of
There are basically two planting seasons for the popular garden
flowering bulbs, being spring and autumn. Some choice species and alpine
bulbs might be planted at different times according to type.
Gnerally, those bulbs that flower in spring – such as
crocus, daffodils, fritillaries and hyacinths – are normally
planted in the previous autumn – or late summer. The main
exception to this being the planting of snowdrops – arguably
winter flowering as distinct from spring flowering bulbs.
Bulbs that flower in the summer months – such as lilies, gladioli,
ixias, alliums, freesias and Crocosmia – are normally planted in early
summer; after the severe frosts have finished. Let’s include the dahlias
and begonias for good measure as we have included them in the bulbs
section; even though they are tubers rather than actual bulbs.
There is another group of bulbs – so often overlooked yet so
important to extend the seasons of interest – being the autumn flowering
bulbs. Conveniently, these are normally made available at the correct
planting time for bulbs in this group.
Planting Times for Bulbs
There is considerable leeway for planting times of all bulbs, for
they have their own food store within. A month either way makes very
little difference other than to the actual flowering time or flower
size. The exception to this latitude being that summer flowering bulbs
should not be planted too early in case of cold or frost damage. Spring
flowering bulbs on the other hand, are conveniently harvested, packed
and sent to the garden centres at planting time, so not easy to plant
Our bulb planting time sections are divided into two lists for
convenience – alphabetical listing of bulbs with
planting times and a
monthly calendar for the best time to plant bulbs.
Erythronium Pagoda - Early Spring flowering bulb
for autumn planting.
Alphabetical List of Bulb Planting Times
African Lily - Plant the bulbous crowns in spring, or buy pot-grown
flowering plants early summer.
Alliums - Onions - The bulb types of allium should be planted in
autumn. The rarer rhizome types in spring.
- Bella Donna Plant bulbs in late autumn or spring - cover bulb
with shallow layer of soil.
Anemones - Most bulbous anemones are planted in autumn, but the
'De Caen' and 'St Brigid' types are best planted in mid spring.
- Tuberous types can be started indoors in early spring to get a
good summer start. otherwise plant in late spring after ALL possible
frosts have gone.
- Plant in well drained area in autumn.
- Indian Shot Plant is normally planted in mid spring - sheltered -
and lifted each autumn for winter storage.
- Crinum Lilies - Plant in spring. Ensure the
neck of the bulb is above soil level to avoid rotting.
Cardiocrinum - Giant Lily - Best planted in autumn with just a
little bit of soil over top of bulb.
Chionodoxa - Glory of the Snow is normally planted in autumn and
soon grows to justify its common name.
Colchicum - Autumn Crocus or Naked Ladies - Normally sold in
late summer as large bulbs (corms) sometimes with flower sprouting.
Should be planted immediately.
Tuberous Corydalis are best planted in autumn in sheltered position.
- Crocosmia -
Montbretia - Best planted as dry bulbs in autumn, but are
available as pot grown flowering plants in mid to late summer.
- Normal spring flowering crocus should be planted in autumn as
bulbs (corms) but are also available at potted clumps in spring.
Plant these after flowering whilst still in leaf. Autumn flowering
crocus are planted in late summer
Corms - are normally available in late summer and should be
planted as soon as possible after that time.
Dahlia - The tubers of Dahlias should be planted after frost
have finished in spring. Potted plants are available throughout
summer - ready to plant for instant gardening.
Dierama - The Wand Flower - Plant the corms in the garden in mid
to late spring
Winter Aconite normally available to be planted in autumn, but also
available as pot grown clusters - plant after foliage dies down
Fritillaries - Plant both Large and small types in late summer
- Snowdrops - Normally planted as bulbs in autumn, but possibly
better after flowers in spring. See main page as the planting of the
snowdrops is the main area of disappointment.
- Spring is the best time for planting this summer flowering beauty
- unless in the mildest of areas, when autumn is a possibility. Best
lifted and dried in the autumn toi be planted again in spring.
- Bluebells - Cultivated bulbs best planted in autumn. Collected
Wild bulbs are NO GO!
Hyacinth - For garden planting, the bulbs can be planted in
bulbs for indoor use are available sooner.
- Iris -
Bulbous dwarf iris
are normally planted late summer or autumn, whilst the taller
rhizomatous types are planted after dividing in late summer.
Leucojum - Snowpake
- A good competitor for the snowdrops. Leucojum are later flowering
than snowdrops – and easier to succeed with planting. Leucojum
should be planted in autumn.
Muscari - Grape Hyacinth - Group planting for effect in autumn -
rather than single plants! After a year or so clumps can be divided
Narcissus - Daffodil - When to plant daffodils is one of our
most asked questions. Early autumn is best, but if you miss out,
then any time before spring sets in. Can also be bought as potted
clumps in spring ready for instant gardening - or best after normal
dying down of foliage.
Ranunculus - are not the easiest of subjects from bulbs
(tubers), but autumn is the time for planting, or as pot grown
plants in full flower late winter.
Schizostylis Kafir Lily Bes planted as
growing plants via container specimens in late summer at the garden
centre. otherwise as dried plants for spring planting.
- Late summer through early autumn is best - though can always be
bought as pot grown clusters in early spring from garden centres. -
Plant as soon as finished flowering.
Trillium - Normally planted in autumn in richly organic
soil - not essential. They are often sold as early flowering potted
plants, in which case plant when convenient.
Tulip - Plant in late summer through until late autumn. Later
planting best as earlier planting can send up early shoots which are
susceptible to late frost damage. Often planted the same time as
daffodils - which should be planted earlier!
Monthly Calendar of Bulb Planting Times