How to plant flower bulbs and seeds correctly

Posted on 5 min read

With the warmer temperatures, spring is the time to plant flower seeds and bulbs. Farmy now offers a wide range of bulbs and seeds so you can plant your own flowers at home – from dahlias to ranunculus, gladioli to sunflowers.

In this article we explain, among other things:

  • when you should plant which bulbs,
  • what you need for planting flower seeds and bulbs and
  • what you should bear in mind while doing so

Summer flowering bulbs vs. spring flowering bulbs

‘Flower bulb’ is the name for any plant whose storage organs are stored underground. A distinction is generally made between two types: summer-flowering and spring-flowering bulbs.

Bright pink dahlias held by two hands, white door in background
Dahlia

Summer flowering bulbs

Like most flower seeds (always read the product info!), some flower bulbs are planted in spring. These are, for example:

  • dahlias
  • gladiola
  • anemone
  • begonia
  • lillies

These bulbs unfurl and let your bed bloom in late summer. They are therefore also called summer flowering bulbs. Mild temperatures are essential for them, as they are very sensitive to frost. As soon as the danger of overnight frost has passed, you can plant your summer bloomers. You should, however, do this by the end of May at the latest. Make sure that you choose a sunny location. The soil must be permeable to water, as waterlogging will cause your bulbs to rot – and that is something to be avoided!

Tip: Keep an eye on the Ice Saints (usually mid-May) and protect your bulbs in sub-zero temperatures.

Close-up of pink gladiola
Gladiola

The beauty of bulbs? You can dig them up again at the end of autumn, bring them in over winter and then replant them in spring. Great, isn’t it? Whereas if you leave them in the ground, they will die due to their frost sensitivity. The exception to this is the lily: They are hardy.

Spring flowering bulbs

Unlike summer bloomers, spring bloomers are planted in autumn and winter, usually from September to and including December. These are the classic and highly popular spring flowers, such as:

  • tulips
  • narcissus
  • crocus
  • hyacinth
  • snow drops
close-up of yellow narcissues
Narcissus

So these bulbs are overwintered and bloom in spring. The great thing about it: once planted, they bloom anew every year and can even reproduce. All they need is a little sun and soil that is not too dense so that rainwater can run off.

What you need for planting

Before you start planting, you should equip yourself with a few useful tools and the essentials. For planting you will need:

  • a small shovel
  • a small rake
  • fertiliser
  • potting soil if you want to plant your bulbs and seeds in a pot

The great bulb planter is also very useful. Or how about our flower bulb starter kit? With this, you can start planting right away.

How to plant flower bulbs

Planting flower bulbs is quite easy:

  1. Loosen the soil with a rake
  2. Dig a hole (the easiest way is to use a bulb planter; alternatively use a small shovel)
  3. Place the bulbs upright in the hole
  4. Cover with soil
  5. Water (this encourages root development)

How to plant flower seeds

You can sow frost-sensitive flower seeds indoors in a pot as early as February and plant them in the bed from March onwards. Here, as with direct planting in the bed, you can proceed as follows:

  1. Spread potting soil in a pot or loosen the soil in the bed
  2. Spread the flower seeds on the soil (observe the spacing according to the product description)
  3. Cover the seeds with soil (the smaller the seeds, the thinner the covering layer)
  4. Lightly press down the top layer (so that the seeds have good contact with the soil and its moisture)
  5. Water with a sprayer
  6. If necessary, cover with foil, freezer bag, etc. (this creates an optimal greenhouse climate with high humidity). Ventilate the cover from time to time or poke holes in the foil.

Tip: Assign a label to each seed planted so that you know where you have sown what.

Lillies in a pale orange vase, grey background
Lillies

We recommend that you moisten the seeds with a sprayer until they have sprouted. This is sufficient for watering and will not wash away the seeds.

What you should bear in mind when planting flower seeds and bulbs

Now we’ll give you a few useful tips that should make planting a success.

How deep should the planting hole be?

As a rule, the hole for flower bulbs should be twice as deep as the bulb is high. Dahlias and begonias are an exception: you should plant them close to the surface.

The depth for seeds depends on their size. As described above, the smaller they are, the closer they should be to the top layer. Please refer to the product description.

How do I care for my bulbs?

As soon as your flowers have finished flowering, i.e. they are fading, you should cut them – including the flower stalk. This helps the flower to store energy in the bulb. This is important so that the flower can bloom vigorously again the following year.

Tip: You should keep the soil moist in spring, especially for summer bloomers, if the spring is very dry.

A field of blue cornflowers
Corn flowers

Fertilising is also important for renewed flowering the following year. You can either do this already when planting. Compost is a good choice here. Or you can fertilise your bulbs as soon as they start to grow. That is, as soon as they sprout green from the soil.

Tip: The bulbs can only process the fertiliser when they still have green leaves. Only then do they store the energy in their bulb.

Before fertilising, read the product description of your bulbs carefully. Different bulbs have different needs.

How do I overwinter flower bulbs correctly?

As described above, you should dig up summer bulbs before winter. Then tap off the soil; the bulbs should be dry. It is best to store your bulbs in a cardboard box: layer by layer with a layer of newspaper in between. Keep the box in a dry, cool place until spring.

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