Time to plant those colourful spring bulbs

Autumn is the bulb-planting season. The cool nights, low soil temperatures and shorter days of April make it an excellent time to plant spring-flowering bulbs – with the exception of tulips which are best planted in mid-May.

There is still time to choose from a range of exotic and indigenous bulbs available for planting.

“Exotic” is a word used to describe bulbs that are not indigenous or native to SA.

Daffodil, hyacinth, ranunculus, leucojum, Dutch iris, anemone, tulips and brodiaea are all bulbs that grow wild in parts of the northern hemisphere.

Indigenous spring-flowering bulbs:

Most of the indigenous spring flowering bulbs (including their hybrids and cultivars) are native to the Western Cape, and have undergone hybridisation across the world. Hybridised indigenous bulb cultivars of freesia, ixia, babiana, sparaxis, tritonia, chincherinchee (Ornithogalum thyrsoides) and Cape cowslip (Lachenalia) are readily available at most garden centres.

How to plant spring bulbs:

Before you rush out and buy spring bulbs, consider these tips on where to plant them and how to care for them.

As soon as you have planted the bulbs, water thoroughly. A generous mulch of chipped bark or well-rotted compost will help to retain moisture during dry days, but avoid using wet manure, as it may burn the bulbs.