Choosing the right kinds of bulbs


First, determine what kind of look the planting will have to have and whether the bulbs will be used for one-year flowering, multiple-year flowering or for naturalising. Other factors affecting the choice will be:
- location
- type of soil
- site conditions (amount of light)

For annual flowering, tulips, hyacinths, narcissi and special bulbs such as crocus and grape hyacinths are usually chosen. For perennialised flowering, the International Flower Bulb Centre determined which flower bulbs would be suitable for this purpose in borders by testing them in various climate zones over two testing periods. An extensive list of varieties and their suitability for each climate zone is included in the enclosed CD-ROM.

The factors of soil, drainage and light are especially important when planting bulbs for perennialising or naturalising. When using them for naturalising, flower bulbs should be planted in a location that closely simulates the bulbs’ natural habitat. The result will be a very natural-looking planting that enlivens a more wooded environment.

- wooded sites
Allium ursinum (Ramsom), Anemone nemorosa (Wood Anemone), Anemone ranunculoides (Buttercup Anemone), Arum italicum (Italian Arum), Colchicum, Convallaria majalis, Corydalis cava (Bulbous Corydalis), Corydalis solida, Cyclamen, Eranthis, Galanthus (Snowdrop), Hyacinthoides non-scripta (bluebells), Ornithogalum.

- next to ponds, wet green strips
Fritillaria meleagris, Arum italicum, Leucojum, Camassia

- in verges and lawns
Crocus, Chionodoxa, Galanthus, Scilla and early-flowering narcissi.