Select a site near the edge of your lawn or under a tree, bearing in mind that the grass must be left uncut until the bulb foliage dies back in May or June. Also, make sure you choose bulbs that suit your conditions. Crocuses and scillas do well in the open; snowdrops, cyclamen and narcissi are good under trees; and snake’s head fritillaries thrive in moist soil. Camassias, being tall, can overshadow other blooms, so are best kept on their own. Dwarf irises and the smaller species tulips need full sun and good drainage, so are better grown in gravel.
Ensure the bulbs flower for years to come by planting them at the right depth, which is roughly three times the bulb’s height.
- How to create a spring bulb tray
- How to grow tulips in problem places
- How to plant summer bulbs in pots (video)
Follow the step-by-step guide, below, to naturalising spring bulbs in grass.
You Will Need
- Spring bulbs
- Garden spade
- Garden fork
Remove the turf from your planting area by cutting 4cm deep with a spade, then sliding the blade underneath to slice through the roots. Lift in manageable pieces.
Break up the soil surface with a fork, then add some fertiliser and garden compost if necessary. Rake level, then tamp down the surface gently.
Scatter the bulbs in small random groups to look natural. Then dig a hole for each one with a trowel, so it sits upright at a depth of three times its own height.
Backfill with the soil, then lay the pieces of turf back on the top. Firm down, ensuring they’re level with the rest of the lawn, then water well so they bed back in.
Autumn is also a good time to plant onion sets for a fresh, heavy crop of onions next June, a few weeks ahead of a spring-sown crop. When planting sets, don’t force them into the soil as this damages the base plate where the roots emerge.