The 8 most popular winter bulbs to grow in Jersey
If you are looking to brighten up your garden during the winter dormant period, bulbs are a viable option. Various varieties and different flowering times ensure the long-lasting display of colours.
Why plant bulbs?
- Bulbs come in many different colours and sizes and the colour display options are almost limitless
- They are very easy to grow and look after
- Their flowering period lasts from winter to early summer
- Bulbs provide colour when other vegetation remains dormant
- They fill the gaps while the herbaceous perennials rest
Winter bulbs should be planted in the autumn while the ground remains warm, however, in Jersey or other warmer climates you can get away with planting bulbs as late as December or even January for late blooming varieties.
The depth of planting varies and depends on the eventual height of plants. Low growing specimens such as crocuses should be planted just below the ground level, whereas taller plants such as tulips can be planted deeper (approximately 4 or 5 inches) to support the stalks during growth and flowering.
Caring for bulbs
All the bulbs are generally easy to grow and maintain. We recommend deadheading the plants after the flowers are spent. The prevention of seed formation ensures the plant’s energy is redirected to further bulb growth and development. The deadheading is a recommendation rather than requirement and should affect future flowering if not undertaken.
Remove the leaves after they turn yellow or brown. Green leaves are still actively photosynthesizing; therefore, the bulb is a process of development and growth.
Bulbs serve as a water storage, meaning they are drought resistant. Only water the bulbs in severe droughts and hot spells.
Most popular winter bulbs to grow in Jersey
Daffodils are reliable bulbous perennials flowering in winter and spring. The flowers produced are usually white, yellow, and orange. They can be grown in the garden borders, flower beds, pots or the lawns and banks.
You can grow daffodils as a sole specimen, or you can combine them with winter bedding plants or other bulbs such as muscari or bluebells, creating a display of blue and yellow colours. Daffs can also be used as cut flowers.
Plant them in well drained soil of any texture, in full sun or partial shade. Daffodils are susceptible to viral diseases and bulb rot when planted in wet conditions. Snails and slugs may cause damage to the leaves.
Tulip flowers come in various shapes and almost any colour imaginable. They are usually produced in the spring but the late flowering varieties bloom in the summer to ensure long lasting colour display. You can grow tulips in garden borders, flower beds and pots.
The early varieties can be combined with winter bedding plants whereas late flowering varieties can spruce up summer bedding display. All are suitable for cutting and bringing indoors.
Plant tulips in well drained, humus rich soil, ideally in sheltered sunny spots. Pests, including snails, slugs, aphids, and squirrels can cause a few troubles as well as diseases such as viruses and grey mould.
Flowering mostly in winter and early spring, crocuses are one of the first bulbous perennials to appear and to bloom. They are usually low growing and are suitable for flower beds, rockeries pots, or when planted in larger masses, they can create stunning flower living floors in lawn and banks. They can even be grown inside on the windowsill.
Their range of colour schemes is wide and so are the possible colour combinations. Try combining purple crocuses with low growing orange daffodils if you want to try something different.
Plant bulbs in sun or partial shade in well drained fertile soil. squirrels, mice, and rats might dig out the bulbs. Diseases such as root rot can appear if planted in dump conditions.
Hyacinths are very popular mostly due to their highly scented flowers produced in the spring. The colour range of bloom includes white, yellow, red, and blue and the flower display can be used to decorate garden borders, flower beds and pots, whether grown outdoors or indoors. When growing hyacinths indoors, ensure the area is not too warm.
When planting hyacinths in large masses try to restrict the colour scheme to two or three colours to avoid fussy appearance.
Plant bulbs in full sun or partial shade in well drained humus rich soil or compost. Slugs and squirrels might be potentially harmful.
Snowdrop blossom can be seen as an unmistakable indicator of the upcoming spring. White flowers of various shapes and sizes are usually produced in March and April. When growing snowdrops, consider thinning them out now and then due to their multiplying habit.
These hardy bulbous perennials can be planted in garden borders, flower beds, lawns, banks, pots and even hanging baskets. They are also a wonderful option for the cut flowers.
Plant bulbs in moist but well drained soil in full sun, partial shade, or a light shade. Watch out for squirrels digging out bulbs and grey mould appearing during mild winter weather.
Often also referred to as English bluebells, they are bulbous perennials producing bell-shaped flowers, occasionally white or pink, but mostly violet blue in the spring, lasting to early summer. Due to their easy growing and spreading nature, bluebells are sometimes considered to be weeds.
They can be grown in garden borders, banks, pots and look especially stunning in the woodlands when producing flower carpets. Try combining Bluebells with yellow daffodils or red tulips.
Plant the bulbs in well drained soil of most textures, however, avoid planting in waterlogged areas to prevent bulb rot. Bluebells are toxic when ingested and should be handled with care.
Belonging to the onion and garlic family, alliums are very reliable bulbous perennials producing pompom flowers in many shades of purple colour in late spring and early summer. They can be grown in garden borders and flower beds and greatly stand out whey complimenting other herbaceous perennials or ornamental grasses. Alliums are also very good for cutting flowers and for attracting bees for pollinating.
Plant in well drained but moist humus rich soil in full sun and sheltered area. Bulbs can be susceptible to bulb rot in wet conditions, downy mildew, snails, and slugs may cause further problems.
Muscari, also known as Grape hyacinths, are a small perennial bulb blooming in spring. The flowers produced are usually light blue and are often used to decorate garden borders, banks, woodlands, and pots. For best colour combination, interplant smaller daffodils in larger masses of muscari.
Similarly to bluebells, muscari are fast spreading and should be kept contained or thinned out when growing in borders.
Plant bulbs in well drained soil in full sun, partial shade of a full light shade, such as underneath deciduous trees. Avoid planting in damp conditions and watch out for slugs, snails, and fungal diseases.
Fritillaria (Snake heads)
The last on our list, fritillaria is a low growing bulbous perennial belonging to the lily family. The flowers produced in spring are bell shaped and appear in various colours, however, the purple seems to be most popular amongst gardeners.
Snake heads are best grown in garden borders when combined with other bulbs such as daffodils, or other low growing herbaceous.
Plant fritillaria in moist but well drained soil of most textures but avoid waterlogged conditions. Although they are generally disease free, snails, slugs and lily beetles could be a problem.