Growing Tips

Spring Bulbs

When we pack your bulbs we check that they are in perfect condition.  Here are some tips to help you make sure they mature into perfect blooms.

NOTE: SPRING GROWING INSTRUCTIONS ARE COMING SOON….

 

Callas are amazing in pots for adding colour to your Patio, conservatory, or simply to spruce up the garden!

 

You should plant your Calla bulbs from September on-wards (if planting straight into the garden), however it is possible to plant earlier if potted up in a nice warm sunny spot.

 

  • Plant your bulbs 5-10cm deep, and at least 10 cm apart in free draining soil. Callas like semi-shade to full sun, so hunt out that perfect sunny spot where all can see!. We recommend sprinkling a handful of general purpose low nitrogen fertilizer after planting, to really pamper those blooms! A layer of Sawdust over the top wouldnt go a-miss, and will keep the weeds suppressed, as well as helping to keep the soil temperature constant.

 

These beautiful bulbs will flower this summer, and will look spectacular. If we suddenly get a cold snap, flowering may be reduced, but don't panic... next year they'll be back in full force!

Watering is always a must with bulbs, and once every few days will be plenty.

ENJOY!!


Summer flowering corms produce tall slender stems ranging from 80 – 120 cm high. Their striking colour combinations make a real statement in most gardens.
All Bulbs Direct's Gladioli are grown, processed, graded and cured to export quality. They are available from August and can be planted right through to December.
Plant in full sun and in well-drained soil, if soil is heavy mound it up so that excess water will run off from around the area were the corm has been planted.

 

Protect them from strong winds by either planting in a shelter spot or supporting them with a growth support system. Insects and fungi can attack these plants so it is advisable to spray about every 2 – 3 weeks with an insecticide and fungicide to keep your plants looking their best.
Gladioli can be timed to flower any time during summer simply by planting about 90 days before you require them to be in flower, but avoid planting until the danger of frosts have passed. You can also use this timing to create a long lasting display with stagger planting.
The blooms can be removed when they have begun to fade but leave the foliage until it has died down. Lift the corms in autumn and store in a cool, dark place with plenty of air movement until July - August then plant out again in the normal way.


The best time to plant Dahlias is late September or October. Dahlias love sun so choose a nice sunny spot in your garden. Idealy a spot that gets at least 4 hours of full sun a day. Dahlias will grow in almost any soil, but prefer well drained loamy soil conditions.

Prepare the ground a few weeks before planting by digging over the soil thoroughly and adding a little well rotted compost and an application of general fertiliser. Before planting the tubers, apply stakes (for larger varieties) staking after planting damages roots and tubers. Plant your Dahlia tubers about 5-10cm deep and about 50cm apart with the eye facing upwards. Water well and keep moist being careful not to overwater.

Pinch out the tops of dahlia plants after the second set of leaves has developed. This makes the plant branch to form four flower stalks instead of one. .


Gloriosa Rothschildiana, also known as the Climbing Flame lily, is a Georgeous Tropical lily that will climb up anything you put in front of it! Its beautiful flowers will begin popping out in December (earlier in Warm climates), and will stay out for a month or longer.

Gloriosa like to climb up fences, plants, stakes, or anything you want really- they will reach around 1m in height.

Each Tuber will send up 2 growing points, and will have up to 30 flowers each point…. these are a stunning addition to any garden!  These can be planted anytime from now until end of December.

 

  • First things first- you need to find a nice, sunny spot in your garden with good drainage... ensuring that it's in an area for all to see!
  • Loosen the soil to a depth of 15cm, and plant the 2 legged Tubers flat - cover your Tubers with around 10cm of soil.
  • Tubers love to be fertilized, so a handful of general purpose fertilizer is advised, but not always neccesary. Do remember, that the more you pamper your Tubers, the better your blooms will be!
  • Gloriosa Lilies are a climbing Lily, and will require something to grow up or over- staking will work perfectly, or simply let it grow up a nearby plant.

 

You will have blooming spectacular flowers for years to come... ENJOY!!


Begonia are a classic Gardeners Favourite, and can be grown in pots, hanging baskets, in the garden, they are even a great indoor plant! Theres a huge range of varieties, so theres bound to be one or two that will tickle your fancy.

Begonias should be planted in late Winter/Early Spring.

Find a nice, well drained spot for your tubers- Begonias don't like too much sun, so the hotter your region, the less sun they need! (if planting in pots indoors, ensure that they have access to a bit of light, but not full sun) Plant the tubers around 3cm below the surface of the soil, ensuring the indented side of the tuber is facing up.

Cover your tubers with soil, and give them a dousing of water... you should see the tip of the begonia breaking the surface of the soil over the next 3 weeks. When watering, make sure you dont over do it- keep the soil midly damp, but not soggy! You should always water around the tuber/plant, and not the plant itself (this could cause Mildew problems)

When your Begonias first start to flower, we recommend pinching off the first 3 or 4 buds, as this will encourage the plant to produce larger blooms!

Once you have enjoyed your beautiful flowers, the plant will begin to die down. Please let it die down on its own, as this is an important part of the tubers growth. Once fully died down, you can either dig out the bulbs, or leave them in the ground for next Summer! We recommend digging the bulbs if your region experiences very cold, or wet winters.

Store your bulbs in a nice cool, dry spot, ready for next Summer.

Begonias... Blooming amazing!


  • Preparing your seed potatoes

You should aim to have brought you preferred seed potatoes up to 6 weeks before planting out to allow them to begin to sprout. Always use certified, virus free seed potatoes to ensure you get great results and allow time for frosts to have passed, alternatively use frost cloth for protection when planting early.
Remove the packaging as soon as you are home and place them in a warm, dry, airy position to begin to grow and sprout, ensure they have a reasonable amount of light as well.  Leave them to produce shoots between 2 – 4 cm long and placing them  in an old egg carton is a great way to store them for this phase because it provides them with everything they need and helps stop them rolling under…….. well, anything they want to roll under.

  • Sorting out the planting area.

Potatoes are best grown in the garden, but can also do well in buckets, tire stacks or planter bags. Select a position in your garden that is sunny and free draining but reasonably sheltered from strong winds. Potatoes are hungry guys and will need plenty of fertiliser while they work to give you a pile of spuds to eat in a few weeks’ time. Your local seed potato store will have special seed potato fertiliser which will give directions on application rates on the bag.

  • In the garden.

Avoid planting your potatoes were tomatoes were planted last season. Prepare the soil by working it up well mixing in some organic matter at the same time to help provide a rich medium to grow in. You can also add and organic fertiliser such as “Blood and Bone” at this point to help give the ultimate results at harvest time. After the soil has been thoroughly worked up, dig a trench about 15cm deep and place the seed potatoes approximately 25cm apart, if you need more than one trench space each one 80 cm apart. Lay each potato with the shoots pointing upwards and carefully cover them back over with soil without damaging the shoots.

  • Planting in containers.

To grow potatoes in containers or buckets etc, place about 10cm of soil or garden mix in the bottom and lay about 5 potatoes with the shoots facing upwards on the mix then gently cover with more soil or mix so that the potatoes and their shoots are completely covered ( or about 5cm on top of the spuds)
During the growing season
As the shoots begin to grow above the soil, mound up fresh soil or add extra garden mix to your container each time they reach 5 – 10 cm above the soil. In frost prone areas give protection from frosts with frost cloth. Keep your crop weed free by regularly hoeing but take extra care not to damage the fresh growth.

  • When watering aim to water only the soil and not the leaves, this is a big help in preventing diseases attacking the plants. The best and easiest way to achieve this is to use a dripper hose, lay it out along the top of the row next to the stems of your potatoes and connect it to your garden hose, turn it on long enough until the soil is well watered but not soaked. The water will slowly leak out all the way down the dripper hose watering the roots but not getting the leaves wet. Watering is especially important at flowering time.
  • Pests and Diseases are always potential trouble when growing anything but you can easily fight them with a bit of help. Slug and snails will attack so spread a little palletised bait around the base of your plants, not a lot is needed but top it up as is required when it is all eaten or has been washed away with rain. Other insects such as aphids, potato tuber moth and the wire worm can create some headaches, by mounding the soil up around the plants you can prevent the potato tuber moth from laying the eggs beside the fresh potatoes and its larvae can not reach your spuds. There are a few options for protecting your plants from other insects and fungi such as using chemicals to achieve it or other organic options. Talk to your local garden store to see what they offer here, it is important to fight these pest and diseases for a bumper crop.
  • Flowering is an indication that you potatoes are nearly ready to harvest, be sure to wait until the flowering is finishing before digging them up. Some varieties such as Rocket do not flower so monitor its progress by the length of time since it was planted. Rocket needs approximately 80 – 90 days to reach maturity.

 

  • Harvest Time

Early varieties are generally ready to harvest approximately 90 days (3 months) after planting or when the flowers are fully opened. The main and late crop are ready when the flowers and foliage (leaves) have died back.
Dig your fresh potatoes using a fork, carefully remove the soil from the top of the row then dig right down under them and lift up, start digging well back from where they were planted to avoid damaging any new spuds then work your way into the plant.

IF harvesting from containers or buckets, just tip it over onto the mat or tarpaulin (this makes it easier to clean up) and hunt down you fresh spuds in the soil.

P.S. Get the kids or grandkids as they just love it – it’s like a real treasure hunt.

Remember if you damage a tuber during harvest, it will not keep for long.

  • Storing them for eating.

First up, check each variety for storability, rub the skin with your thumb and if it peels off easily then eat these varieties first as they will not keep for a long time. As soon as they have been dug dry the thoroughly (you can wash them first if you want) and store them in a cool dark place that has good ventilation, do not expose your eating potatoes to light.. Storing them in old sacks or paper bags is fine as they can ‘breath’ in these, but do not store in a sealed container such as an ice cream container with the lid on because they will get no fresh air. Keep a close eye on them and remove and rotten ones immediately, these will infect the good ones next to it if they are not removed in time. Carefully stored potatoes can last up to 6 months. .

Vallota bulbs do well in pots but can also be planted outside in a nice sunny spot, ensuring a rich free draining soil.

  • Plant with the neck of the bulb just above the soil ,10 -12cm apart .
  • These bulbs thrive when they are crowded, so once planted leave them undesturbed for 3-4 years.
  • Water well during growth but sparingly once the foliage starts to yellow.
  • Fertilise with a general purpose fertiliser or bulb food to ensure beautiful flowers year after year.

You will be amazed at how easy Vallota bulbs are to grow! Enjoy.

Hymenocallis are a very hardy bulb which can be planted in pots,but are best planted in a sunny spot in your garden (although they can tolerate partial shade)

  • Plant in an area that is free draining. Work the soil up well and add some fertiliser or bulb food.
  • Plant the bulbs with the neck of the bulb just out of the soil.Keep well watered and enjoy the beautiful blooms.

Hymenocallis Bulbs will send up a stunning array of flowers, with an incredibly heavenly scent!


Growing Hippeastrum in pots:
Pot bulb into any size container into which it will fit - providing it has drainage holes.
Choose a brand name potting mix (ph 6.0 to 7.0). It should contain no tree bark or fresh manure.
Hold bulb over the pot so the roots hang into the pot. Fill in around bulb with medium. Firm down so no air pockets remain
The nose of the bulb should be above the pots rim with its shoulders protruding above the soil surface
After planting water well and firm down soil again.  Be careful not to damage plant roots or bulb
Place potted bulb in a light warm position at room temperature
As first flora stems lengthen, rotate pot a half turn every day to help stop the stem growing towards the strongest source of light
Do not over water. Feed occasionally with a bulb fertiliser.
When flowering has finished and foliage is drying down, place the bulb and pot on its side in a cool, dry place.
Allow the bulb a well earned rest without food or water for 3 months. Afterwards remove the old foliage, wash bulb and repeat from the start again, or place in the garden to flower again in Spring.