Flower bulbs

Bulb plants are among the most interesting garden plants. There are especially many spring bloomers. They include tulips, daffodils, imperial crowns, snowdrops, crocuses, and many others. Your bulbs are hardy and, once planted, can stay in the ground for many years. But also dahlias, canna, gladioli, tuberous begonias, crested and inca lilies, ranunculus, montbretias and others belong to the bulb plants. Your bulbs or tubers are not hardy and have to be removed from the ground in autumn.

Spring bloomer

Spring bloomers are preferably bought in late summer. Then there are also the best offers. You can get them in specialist shops, in DIY superstores and garden centers, and even in discounters. There is also a large selection on the Internet, especially from dealers specializing in bulb plants such as “Treppens”. However, you should order early because popular varieties sell out quickly. The onions acquired in this way should not be left for long. They belong in the earth.

Under no circumstances should you buy onions that are already beginning to sprout. You have already used up part of your nutrient supply. That is then missing when growing.

Plant onions

Plant onions

The best time to plant is between August and October. During this time, roots develop well. You can also plant later if the bulbs have been forgotten, but only if the ground is not frozen. If you only discover in the near spring that onions have been forgotten, they should be planted in flower pots. They have often already started to cast out. These bulbs also usually bloom without any problems.

Open, sunny locations are ideal for spring bloomers. Some species also tolerate light shade. The sun is often not particularly suitable for the tender anemones. They quickly run out of steam. They do well under trees. However, their life cycle is already completed before their leaves are completely expelled. So the species don’t get in each other’s way. Anemones also run wild if you let them. You can green large areas.

A well-drained, nutrient-rich soil is ideal for all spring flowers. Loamy soil doesn’t do that well. This should be mixed with sand!

The depth of planting of the bulbs depends on their size. Plant three times as deep as the size of the onion, but at least twice as deep. The distance between them should also be about the same, although I have to admit that I put mine closer and have not yet had any bad experiences. On the contrary, the flowers are nice and close together. It is important that the vegetation point points upwards.

Bulbs are planted in groups, not individually, it doesn’t work. You always take 5 to 10 onions and put them together.

After planting, the bulbs should be watered. Daffodils, checkerboard flowers and a few others in particular love moisture and don’t want to stand dry. Then they also have bad roots.

Dig up onions

When the spring flowers have finished blooming, cut off the unsightly flower heads. The rest of the plant is left to stand. Leaves should never be cut off! This is the only way for the plant to gather strength for the next season. The foliage is important.

As soon as it can be easily pulled out of the ground, this is what one should do. Then the onions can also be removed from the ground. Adhering earth is carefully removed. Then the onions can be examined immediately. Muddy, soft, dried up and moldy onions are sorted out immediately.

Store onions

The clean onions are now stored in a cool and airy place until autumn. A large-meshed net or basket is ideal. They should not be stacked on top of each other. Air must be able to get through everywhere.
Mold can easily form if stored poorly. One moldy onion is enough to infect the others. Moisture is generally harmful to the flower bulbs. You have to be careful that mice don’t get to the onions. They are a treat for them.
It is advisable to check the stored onions regularly! Moldy or rotten onions must be sorted out!

Beware of mice!
Mice love bulbs. Only daffodils and imperial crowns are spared, at least most of the time. But if nothing else is there, they will be eaten too. Mice especially like to eat hyacinths. Only wire baskets can help. You can buy them in stores or if that’s too expensive for you, you can bend them yourself out of close-meshed rabbit wire. However, if you have clever mice in the garden, you will not achieve much with it either. The mice also go into the baskets from above when they are hungry enough.

Summer flower

Summer flower

Summer bloomers are potted in the nurseries in summer. Onions and tubers can be bought early in the year. These are also available in gardening and hardware stores, at specialist dealers, in discounter and on the Internet. Planting in the spring is significantly better. This gives the plants the strength to grow well. They bloom longer because they are not preferred. In addition, when the plants are grown in professional stores, they are treated with growth inhibitors and other substances so that when they are sold they look nice and compact and have lots of flowers. At home, however, they often do not last long and in the next year the plants often look very different, have much longer stems, are not particularly compact at all and bloom much later. The beauty was artificially arranged. So it is better buy bulbs and tubers and plant them. This is also the much cheaper option.


Planting is easy once you’ve labeled the individual bulbs and bulbs. If not, there’s quite a mess in the bed or tub.

You can drive the flowers forward, i.e. plant them in pots with fresh soil as early as March. If you keep them warm and water them carefully, they will soon sprout. The location must be bright, otherwise the stems will only shoot up but have no strength. Do not fertilize, otherwise the shoots will also be weak.
Plants that have been moved forward have to be accustomed slowly to being outdoors and, above all, to the sun, otherwise it can easily happen that the tender shoots burn.
After the ice saints, the bulbs and tubers can either be put outside in the tub or planted out properly.

  • Dahlias are planted about a hand’s breadth deep. Maintain sufficient planting distance!
  • Tuberous begonias should be driven from mid-February. The bowl-like indentation of the tuber must point upwards! Cover the tubers only halfway with soil!
  • Bury the Canna about a hand’s breadth. Plant spacing at least 2 cm. The tubers shouldn’t touch each other!
  • Plant gladioli about 15 cm deep so that the quite long stems get a good hold!
  • Bury the crested and alka lilies three times as deep as the onion is tall.

Excavate the summer quarters

Dahlias, gladioli and co must be out of the ground before the onset of winter. The onions do not mind the first night frosts, only the leaves above die off. It gets muddy. Then you can safely remove the onions from the ground. The best way to do this is with the help of a digging fork.

But first you cut off the remaining flower stems to a length of 10 to 15 cm. The soil around the bulbs or tubers is then carefully loosened with the digging fork. The onions must not be injured during this action! If the soil is loose enough, the onions can be removed. They are roughly stripped of soil and left to dry in a dry, safe place. Sorting can be carried out immediately when cleaning. Onions and tubers with rotten spots are discarded. Soft specimens are also taken out. Now tubers can be divided and daughter onions separated. With all others, care must be taken not to damage the sensitive roots. Every injury site is a gateway for pathogens and putrefaction.

bulbs and onions

Storage of bulbs and onions

The best way to pack the bulbs and bulbs is an airy wooden box. Of course, you should always make sure that the individual varieties are stored separately, preferably also labeled. Otherwise you will have difficulties in the next year to find out which specimens belong together. At the bottom of the floor you put paper, whereby you have to be careful not to use chemically untreated material.

The best quarters for winter is a dark, cool, but definitely frost-free room that is well ventilated. It must not be too warm, otherwise the plants will sprout. Uniform humidity is important. Ideal temperatures are between 5 and 10 ° C.

After three weeks at the latest, you can check how the onions and tubers are doing. They are not allowed to show any changes. Everything that does not look healthy is sorted out. Also watch out for pests! If necessary, these must be fought and removed!

For the rest of the winter, the flower bulbs get a place appropriate to their species.

  • Dahlias and gladioli – best to pack in sand, but so that they don’t touch. Alternatively, you can wrap them in newspaper.
  • Put tuberous begonias in pure sand!
  • Canna – cover with peat or alternatively with sand!

Bulbs and tuber plants belong in every garden. They provide the first color spectacle of the year and also in summer for color and beautiful shapes in the bed. The plants are easy to care for and there are countless varieties. Everyone will find the right varieties for themselves. When choosing, it is important not to bring too much color into play. You shouldn’t be surprised if the colors gradually decline over the years and the original breeding color reappears. Almost all cultivated tulips will turn yellow again at some point if they last long enough. I also find bulbs and tubers very nice in planters. Even mice cannot approach that. You can also put the pots a bit hidden after flowering so that the unsightly leaves can dry off in peace. This makes the onions easier to handle. However, when keeping the bucket, you have to be careful not to pour too much, otherwise it will rot. That goes very quickly.
I cannot imagine a garden without bulbs and tubers. With this in mind, happy shopping and grab your onions!

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