Set bulbs for colour in spring

Pop them in the ground now for early razzle-dazzle!

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Early autumn is the time to start planting spring-flowering bulbs for a colourful display next year. You’ll find them now in nurseries, garden centres, at flower shows and by mail order. There’s a good range of bulbs available such as daffodils that come in all shapes and sizes, tulips, crocus, iris, hyacinths, alliums, snowdrops and many more.

The secret to success is to buy quality bulbs of a good size. The larger the bulb for its type, the better it will flower. If you’re able to select your own bulbs, choose substantial ones that are firm and free from any mould or soft areas. If buying pre-packed, still have a feel and when ordering mail order buy the larger bulbs.

Most spring bulbs can be planted now, either into the garden or into pots where they’ll very quickly start to produce roots. Tulips on the other hand should be kept in a dark, cool place until November before planting. This is because they need much cooler soil conditions to avoid fungal diseases.

The other thing to consider when planting bulbs (‘nose’ up) is the depth you plant them. As a guide, always plant three times the depth of the bulb, so if the bulb is 5cm (2in) from top to bottom, plant in a hole 15cm (6in) deep.

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