Growing conditions can vary around Australia. If you have any queries please contact your local Independent Garden Centre.

How to Grow Beautiful Bulbs 

Bulbs are so versatile! They will add masses of colour to your garden beds or can be used to highlight feature spots under trees. You can plant them in permanent positions in the garden or mix ‘n’ match them in containers with annuals or shrubs. The range available is outstanding and many are even fragrant.


Position: Most prefer a sunny spot but we can suggest some for shaded spots too.

Planting: Main planting time is Autumn but there are varieties for other times as well.

Bulbs are easy to grow in pots or in the ground. They make excellent cut flowers and potted ones can even be used as indoor decoration for short periods. The growing hints on this leaflet are pertinent for most bulbs but the examples quoted are for Autumn plantings.

Which Bulbs to Plant?

Daffodils, Hyacinths, Freesias, Tulips and Ranunculus are the most popular but there’s a huge range of others. For sun or part shade try: Daffodils, Colchicum, Hyacinths, Lachenalia, Muscari, Scilla or Snowflakes.

When to Plant Your Bulbs?

Autumn plantings are best, between March and May for most varieties. Tulips are best planted in May and Hyacinths in March/April. Tulips and Hyacinths will flower better if given a ‘false Winter’ in the crisper of your fridge. Place them in an orange bag, i.e. one with holes in it, into your crisper about six weeks prior to planting.

What Soil Do They Need?

Good drainage is absolutely essential so choose your spot carefully. Bulb Growing Mixture is recommended for pots.

Preparing Your Soil

Soil preparation is preferable a month or so before planting. An open, well drained soil is best. Dig in some Grow Better All Purpose Plant Food Food as recommended. Dig the bed over to at least the depth of your spade and add compost or other fibrous material to enrich the soil and keep it open. If you are planting immediately then be sure to mix the food well into the soil as it should not be heaped directly around the bulb.

Planting Your Bulbs

Refer to planting chart on the bulb packs for heights etc. and keep a colour scheme in mind. Planting in massed beds or clumps will be quite spectacular but smaller plantings can look good too. It’s your garden so it should suit your taste.

There are some exceptions to the rule but generally bulbs go in with the point facing up. Ask your Garden Centre if you are not sure.

Bulbs are planted roughly to a depth two to three times their diameter – the wider the bulb the deeper it goes. There is a special planting tool that’s very useful. Planting distances are covered on the packet.

Make a hole large enough to comfortably take the bulb, pop it in at the correct depth, cover it up with soil and water it well. That’s it! Don’t water too much now until the bulb starts shooting and then only enough to not let it dry out.

Plant Some Companions

Planting selected annuals, flower or seed, with your bulbs is a good idea as it not only adds another colour to your display but will also provide flowers even after your bulbs have finished. Virginian Stock, Alyssum and Pansies are just a few ideas.

Add Some More Food

As the foliage appears and your bulbs start to grow, feed them with a soluble food such as PowerFeed to help improve flowers. You could feed every two to three weeks right up until they finish flowering. Keep an eye open for snails too as young bulb shoots can be attractive. Add snail bait if needed.

Another important time for feeding is once your bulbs finish flowering. It is now that new flowers are forming for next year. Feed every two weeks or so with Powerfeed as the foliage yellows and dies off. A handful of Grow Better All Purpose Plant Food sprinkled around the roots is beneficial now.

Growing Bulbs in Containers

We have an amazing range of containers suitable for bulbs and everything else you’ll need. Bulbs in containers are really good value as you can readily move them around to maximise their beauty.

Once Your Bulbs Have Flowered

Well, they’ll flower again next year but a little attention is needed. By all means remove the flowers for indoor display but do not remove the foliage until it has died right down. Feed as recommended with previously.

Most bulbs can be left in the ground from year to year but some, such as Tulips and Hyacinths, are best lifted, stored and replanted each year.

Bulbs are easy to grow and rewarding. Do try some. Ask your Garden Centre staff for the right advice.

© Garden Centres Association Australia Inc.