Jacque Tucker: Time for a (Light) Bulb moment

Publish Date
Sun, 12 Mar 2017, 8:44am

Jacque Tucker: Time for a (Light) Bulb moment

Publish Date
Sun, 12 Mar 2017, 8:44am

Bulbs....they love the element of surprise. Plant them now, you forget all about them until spring then 
Whammy!  Gorgeous flowers everywhere. 

Now is the time to plant bulbs, so I've attached some notes plus a pic of me at Keukenhof in Amsterdam pretty much drowning in tulips. 

Forget the Auckland housing market - tulips caused the word's first financial bubble in the Netherlands back in the 1600's, where one bulb would go for the price of a house. It actually had a name - Tulipmania.


Bulbs are great - you plant them this time of year and then generally forget where you put them, and they'll pop up in spring or summer, looking fantastic while you're waiting for your spring and summer plants to do their stuff. They have the element of surprise!


Lots in store - crocus, dutch iris, anemones, bluebells, ranunculus, grape muscari and freesias. And of course the world's easiest bulb - the daffodil.  Plant from now until the end of autumn.


  • Make sure your soil is free draining - add lots of compost and grit/pumice. If you have really gluggy soil, plant in a raised bed or in pots.
  • Choose firm, fat, healthy looking bulbs - avoid anything squishy or mouldy.
  • Plant twice as deep as the height of the bulb, with the nose (pointy end) pointing up and the flat bit (basal plate) on the bottom.
  • If you don't want to lose them, plant them in a bulb basket in the ground.
  • Let your bulbs die down naturally - even if they look ugly. It's when the leaves are storing up energy for next year. 


Tulips come from cold climates, but if you live somewhere warm you can trick them by putting them in the fridge for 6 weeks so they get a fake winter - put them in a labelled paper bag away from fruit.  Then plant them out a little deeper than usual.

BUT  if that sounds like a hassle, just buy new tulip bulbs every year. Easy!


Your local garden centre, nzbulbs.co.nz, bulbsdirect.co.nz, hadstockfarm.co.nz, lilyfields.co.nz, pleasantvalleydaffodils.co.nz, gardenpost.co.nz, davidbelldaffodils.co.nz, Foxtail.co.nz for alliums , Trade Me...