Bulbous plants planted in autumn
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Bulbous plants planted in autumn

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We associate autumn with either bare trees or a yellow and red carpet of leaves. However, with bulbous plants that bloom in autumn, your garden can still look springlike and striking.


Bulbous plants are best planted among perennials and seasonal plants this month. These are already developing at the start of spring and by the end of summer their dormancy period is over. Bulbs should be transplanted into the soil in September so that they are well rooted and prepared for the low winter temperatures.

The bulbs are still vulnerable to rodents in the autumn, so for better protection they should be placed in openwork plastic covers. Then simply move them to a hole which has been dug (weeded and enriched with a layer of compost or fertiliser) and cover thoroughly with soil. Sprinkle a four or five centimetre thick layer of bark or conifer twigs over the soil. This will protect the plant from frost

Remember that the bulb should be soaked in a fungicide solution for an hour before planting and watered immediately afterwards. Among the typical September plants we find bulbous irises, bearded carnations, Asiatic lilies and garden bells.


In October, plant bulbs that bloom somewhat later than in early spring. Flower bulbs will look best when planted in groups after they have grown. First the soil (neutral or slightly alkaline) should be loosened, mixed with fertiliser or compost. Heavy and clay soil requires drainage, i.e. an additional layer of sand and stones.

In October, lilies are most often planted. White ones just below the surface, and others at a depth equal to three times the height of the bulb.

The distance between them should be five times the width of the bulb.

In addition to lilies, the garden can also include hyacinths, narcissi and checkers, called imperial crowns. October bulbous plants, just like September bulbous plants, need to be protected from voles and grubs. They will be protected by the vicinity of elderberry, black currant or chamomile. They have an intense smell, very unpleasant for pests

What about nematodes? Soak bulbs with brown spots in warm water – if there are larvae inside, they will float to the top. Unfortunately, the bulbs cannot be saved. Burn them to prevent them from infecting others.


November is by far the least favorable time (except, of course, winter) to plant bulbs. Most plants should be planted in earlier months, the end of autumn is the time for gardeners really late. Fortunately, the soil is not frozen then and, thanks to favourable weather, the plants still have a chance to root properly before the onset of winter. It is possible, but not certain.

Tulips, hyacinths and checkers have the best chance of doing this. A layer of bark or conifer twigs can be more than four inches thick to keep the soil warmer before winter arrives. November, however, is primarily a time for plants to just protect rather than plant. Bulbs that do not overwinter in the ground should be dug up. Lay a layer of straw over the others and cover it with soil or peat.

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Main photo: Patrick Davis/

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