Planting Bulbs in Time for Christmas Flowers

Planting Bulbs in Time for Christmas Flowers

Whether you’re growing them for centrepieces and vases around the home, or to give as gifts, there are some flowers that you can plant now and grow in time for Christmas!

What bulbs can you plant to be ready for Christmas

Timing is everything if you want to have flowers blooming in time for Christmas.

Flowers to plant in September

Hyacinths are perfect for planting towards the end of September or perhaps later – it depends on the type of Hyacinth. For example, the Pink Pearl variety needs around 10 weeks of cool growing condition then 22 days indoor to flower – plant these around 24th September. Varieties like Anna Marie only need 8 weeks in cool conditions, then 18 days inside to flower.

Daffodils are generally thought of as a spring flower, but they can also be planted in September to bloom in time for Christmas. You will need good quality bulbs to be able to achieve flowers 6 to 10 weeks from planting, as the natural blooming period is early spring.

  Flowers to plant in September

 

Flowers to plant in October

A good flower to plant in October is Hippeastrum (or Amaryllis) – these take around 10 weeks to flower from being planted.


Are you planting in the right soil?

Different plants thrive in different soils, so you need to know whether the soil is acid or alkaline- chemistry lesson time! You may remember from school that the soil pH is a number that describes how acid or alkaline your soil is. A PH of 7.0 is considered neutral – anything lower than this is acidic, anything above is alkaline.

If you check the soil’s PH before planting your bulbs, it’ll help you to identify whether you need to do anything to adjust the pH of the soil.

This may spark a few memories of school chemistry classes, in which we will have been taught that a pH of 7.0 is considered neutral. Anything below this number falls into the acid category, and anything above would be considered alkaline.

Use one of our PH testing kits or a pH meter probe to test what level your soil is at. If it’s testing as too alkaline you can add our pH Down solution to bring it to the right level.

  Soil Image

 

How to plant bulbs in containers

Planting bulbs in containers can be a perfect solution if you’re short of space, or colourful pots can add some decoration even before the bulbs have flowered! Make sure any containers you use have good drainage – if not use bulb fibre, or a compost with an open texture that is moisture retentive but still free-draining

  • Wet your compost and place a layer at the bottom of your container.
  • Set your bulbs on the compost – aim to plant them three times their depth and one bulb width apart.
  • Fill around the bulbs with more compost – make sure to leave at least 1cm between the surface and the top of the container – you need space to water!
  • If planted correctly the bulbs should be just showing at the top.
  • Water your bulbs regularly!
  Containers

 

bulb vases

If you’re looking to grow Hyacinths for Christmas an alternative method is to grow in a bulb vase. The bulb should be slightly smaller in diameter than the vase so that it sits snugly in the vase. Simply fill the vase with water up to the neck and then place the bulb in the top. The water level should be just below the bottom of the bulb. The plant can then be treated in the same way as potted hyacinths (below)

‘Forcing’ bulbs to flower for Christmas

After being planted your bulbs need a period of time in a cool, dark environment – a garden shed, garage or basement is perfect – they need to be away from bright light.

Check your containers regularly to make sure they don’t dry out – give them a water if they’re feeling dry.  If you’re growing in a container without drainage holes, trip the pot on its side for a bit after watering to let any excess drain out.

Don’t have anywhere indoors to put them? Try and put the bulbs in a cool, shady area outdoors – up against a north facing wall or fence is ideal. Cover the bulbs with 15cm of bark or compost.

  Bulbs

 

Bringing your Christmas bulbs in to flower

When roots that have developed from your bulbs are around 4-5cm long, your flowers are ready to come inside for the rest of their maturation.

  • Place the pots in a cool room away from bright light to allow the leaves to green up a little – once this has happened you can move them close to a window.
  • Keep them in warm surroundings, but not too close to a source of artificial heat – for example, avoid shelves above radiators. A humid atmosphere is best for your flowering plants.
  • If the leaves are developing faster than the flower buds, move the pots back into a cool dark place for a day or two – don’t leave them for any longer than this or the leaves can start to turn pale.
  • Keep pots regularly watered or vases topped up.
  Roots

 

Protect your Bulbs against pests!

If they’re stored outside, slugs and snails will make a beeline for your bulbs to munch on them, so be prepared. We stock a range of slug busting solutions – our copper slug tape can be stuck around pots to stop the slugs climbing up, and the Slug and Snail Shocka mats add a larger copper barrier. Slug Gone Pellets are made of biodegradable sheep’s wool that pulls the slime off the slug’s foot so they are encouraged to go somewhere else, while Nemaslug is a living organism that preys on slugs.

Have you noticed any hedgehogs snuffling around your garden? They’re known as the gardener’s friend for a reason – they can eat up to 80 slugs a night! If you’re lucky enough to have one as a regular visitor, why not invest in a hedgehog house and food to give them a reason to stay – they’ll reward you by feasting on slugs and snails!

  Pest