Spring Flowering Bulbs General Growing Instructions

There are 5 main things to remember about growing spring flowering bulbs:

1) Ensure well drained soil.

2) Most bulbs need to be dry in their dormant period (over summer for spring flowering bulbs).

3) Water your bulbs both while they are growing including after flowering, but stop when they are dying back.

4) Spring bulbs need to have enough cooling and warmth through the year for the type of bulb – see specific instructions.

5) The pH needs to be between 6 and 7.5 for growth.

Open the box and open the bags to allow air flow around the bulbs until you plant. If it is wet packed they are best planted straight away. If your bulbs need chilling, check whether it is the time to put them into the crisper for a 6-8 week period (see specific instructions). Check your order. Every effort is made to deliver sound, healthy bulbs. Please contact us if there is a problem. Our liability however is limited to the value of the bulbs delivered.

Most spring bulbs enjoy full sun to part shade. If you are in an area with heavy frosts, early flowering bulbs like daffodils and crocus can be planted in lawns and will pop up before new spring growth. However, this can only continue perennially if you do not mow the leaves off until natural die-back.

Well drained soil: Bulbs hate being water logged and will perish quickly when they are. Making raised beds is a sure way to drain even heavy clay soils. You can achieve this on a bank or slope, on a mound, in a pot, or by mixing draining medium through your soil. The best results are achieved when the soil is rich in organic matter. Remember "well drained" means your soil will probably need to be watered.

The best pH for spring bulbs is between 6 and 7.5, which is already present in most garden soils around Australia. pH can be measured with a test bought from your nursery, and can be raised by the addition of lime or dolomite.

How to achieve the right heating and cooling for spring bulbs: We live in a different climate to Central Asia and Europe where most of our bulbs originate. If your garden does not get cold over winter (generally determined by whether you get frosts or not) you can ‘trick’ your bulbs into believing they’ve experienced winter by keeping them in the crisper prior to planting. Another trick is using dark gravel mulch to dry out the ground and keep it warmer over summer dormancy, thus limiting the need to lift your bulbs over summer. See specific Tulip instructions for refrigeration techniques.

Fertiliser: Fertilisation with blood and bone and a little complete fertiliser mixed with the soil prior to planting will encourage growth, but remember that all the energy needed for a flower the first season is already stored in the bulb we supply. The fertiliser added will help develop the next year’s bulbs. Some more complete fertiliser which includes nitrogen can be top dressed after they start to pop through the ground.

Water: Don’t over water bulbs and remember to grow in well drained soil. Spring bulbs need water only during their growing period and until they die back. Water the bulbs in and then only occasionally until shoots start emerging. As the flower dies and foliage slowly withers the bulbs are still growing for next year. Keep watering after flowering in spring until the foliage is half yellow. Stop watering them after that as they are going into their dormant period. Generally, bulbs do not like being both dormant and wet. Because bulbs grow in winter and spring they are very water efficient.

Picking flowers: When picking flowers for vases, remember that the more leaves left on the plant, the larger the bulbs will grow for next year’s spring display.

De-heading: After bulbs have flowered they can be de-headed by snapping the flower head off. This will encourage the energy that would have gone into seed reproduction to go into making larger, stronger bulbs.

When to lift bulbs: Bulbs are best left undisturbed until all the foliage has died back. When bulbs start to die back they can look less attractive, but it is important to leave the leaves on until they have fully died back. If you dig up a bulb and it is white and the skin has not developed yet, wait a week or two.

Lifting your bulbs and storage: If you have decided to lift your bulbs (recommended for tulips) dig them up when the leaves have yellowed and separate the bulbs from dead plant matter. Store them in a net bag in a well ventilated area. 20 degrees is the ideal; long exposures to hot 30+ degree temperatures may abort next year’s flowers.

Naturalising: Naturalising (leaving in the ground without lifting) is easy for many spring bulbs; just plant and enjoy. See specific growing instructions for species to see which do best with this. When planting, choose your site well as they will hopefully multiply and may need room. They can be lifted every few years to divide the clump, move them elsewhere or give some to friends. A few tulips naturalise but most will perform best by lifting.

Pests and disease: Some bulbs will develop disease. It is best to remove the diseased plant by pulling it up. Disease is most likely spread by aphids or soil pathogens. Move the site where you plant your bulbs from time to time. Bulbs can get virus that oddly colour the flower or leaves. Aphids spread viruses and can be controlled with applications of pyrethrum and garlic spray. For further information visit www.vdqbulbs.com.au

Animals: Rats and mice as well as native animals like possums and wallabies like eating bulbs. If you are susceptible you can plant bulbs extra deep. The animals don’t seem to be able to smell the bulbs then and want to dig them up. Narcissus (daffodils) are rodent and native animal resistant.

Alchemilla: (Zones 1,2,3)

Alchemilla are easily grown in sun or part shade.  They make a lovely herbaceous border.  They are frost tolerant and drought resistant.  Cut them back lightly after flowering to promote new foliage. Planting depth is the same as in pot supplied and can be planted 50-60cm apart.

Allium: (Zones 1,2,3,4) - See also General Bulb Growing Instructions

Generally alliums thrive in a sunny well-drained positions.  Plant approx. 3 bulbs depth and 6 bulbs width spacing.  Ensure they receive ample water whilst the foliage is developing and during flowering, after which allow to dry off.  Their tall stems are particularly useful for getting height into your garden.  Flowers late spring and make great cut flowers.

Anemone De Caen and St. Brigid: (Zones 1,2,3,4) - See also General Bulb Growing Instructions

These corms are easy to grow, they can naturalise or be lifted after flowering. Plant point down 12-15 cm apart and water well. Lime before planting if soil too acid. Fertilise at planting and then apply 1-2 application of high nitrogen fertiliser soon after emergence. For best results, top dress with blood and bone after flowering. Flowers late winter to early spring.

Anemone Nemorosa Bracteata (Zones 1,2,3)- See also General Bulb Growing Instructions

This is a delightful spring flowering plant to naturalise and spread in your garden. Its delicate flowers start blooming soon after the foliage emerges from the ground in October/November. They are frost hardy and they like part shade to full shade. Fertilise with blood and bone at planting and apply 1 or 2 applications of high nitrogen fertiliser soon after emergence. Plant 5cm deep and 5cm-10cm apart.

Anemones (perennial) (Zones 1,2,3,4)

These Anemones prefer a rich, moist soil, spreading to form a patch. Plant in dappled or part shade. Use a winter mulch in colder regions. They are frost tolerant. Fertilise with blood and bone at planting and apply 1 or 2 applications of high nitrogen fertiliser soon after emergence.

Aquilegia: (Zones 1,2,3)

Aquilegia are a fairly drought resistant plant flowering in late spring/early summer.  They are frost tolerant and like to be planted in partial shade in cool, moist, humus-rich, well drained soil.   They like a soil pH of around 5-6. They should be planted with their crown at soil level. Water well and mulch. Keep moist, until they become established and during dry spells.  They will self-sow, but new plants can be lost if the summer gets too hot. If self-sowing becomes a nuisance, cut back in mid-summer to prevent seed pods from forming.

Astilbe: (Zones 1,2,3)

These long lived perennials do well in shady locations and require damp soil all year.  Great for planting around ponds and in wet patches.  Grow to approx 80cm.  They are frost tolerant.  Planting depth is the same as in pot supplied and can be planted 50-60cm apart.

Astrantia (Zones 1,2,3)

Astrantia prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH. Plant in part shade. These are a lovely plant for pond-sides, streams and woodlands and are also a good potting plant. Low maintenance and easy to grow. They tolerate frost extremely well. Fertilise with blood and bone at planting and apply 1 or 2 applications of high nitrogen fertiliser soon after emergence. Planting depth is the same as in pot supplied and can be planted 60-70cm apart.

Bearded Iris: (Zones 1,2,3,4)

These great plants will naturalise and remain green all year. They are suited to cooler climates and can handle frosts, but will grow in the right position anywhere but in the tropics. To grow the rhizome, plant only 5cm deep and 30cm apart, in well drained soil. Water well to establish. Plant with blood and bone or complete fertiliser and apply a high nitrogen fertiliser in early spring. They flower very late in spring; November – December.

Begonias (Tuberous): (Zones 1,2,3)

Tuberous Begonias are spectacular flowers and perform best with some love and attention. These frost-tender plants enjoy a mild climate where temperatures range from 10 to 25 degrees C. For a fantastic display plant them in pots. They prefer bright shade with little or no direct light. Plant the tuber with the eyes up (concave side up). Plant each tuber just below the surface in a 15-20cm pot. Do not over-water. Begonias enjoy restricted space for root growth. For best results pot in a small restrictive pot with just a few centimetres each side of the tuber. Once you have leaves unfurling you can move to a bigger pot. Use a quality potting mix and fertilise with 3-4 month slow release fertiliser or fortnightly liquid feeds. Water well while hot but reduce watering toward the end of flowering. They are susceptible to rot over Winter. Remove any dead or dying flowers or leaves to reduce fungal problems (powdery mildew). Watch for slugs and snails and over watering.

Brodiaea: (Zones 1,2,3,4)

King Fabiola are relatively easy to grow in the ground or in a pot, but require a bit of warmth and sun. Plant 10cm deep and 5-10cm apart. They like some complete fertiliser mixed with the soil and a top dress before flowering. They don’t need much water, it only becomes necessary prior to flowering. They are frost tolerant once established.

Calochortus: (Zones 1,2,3) - See also General Bulb Growing Instructions

Also known as a mariposa lily from the Liliaceae family. They have grassy looking leaves and stunning cup-like flower. These Western North American prairie dwelling flower bulbs enjoying a wet winter and dry summer environment but will tolerate a hot dry climate. Plant bulbs point up 5cm deep and 5cm apart in very well drained soil. Add organic material to soil for long term feeding. Keep moist in the growing season and allow leaves to die back slowly after flowering. Position in full sun.

Camassia: (Zones 1,2) - See also General Bulb Growing Instructions

Also known as a wild blue hyacinth.  Plant in well drained but moist soil in a full sun location, and water them in well.  Plant 10cm deep and 20-25cm apart.  They will happily naturalise in moist soils near ponds and streams.  If you have a moist but sunny spot in your garden that other plants do not like, then Camassia will be a good option to use. Late spring blooming, animal resistant and great cut flowers.

Campanula: (Zones 1,2,3)

Campanula are sun loving and prefer a near neutral pH, but are generally easy to grow.  Plant in reasonably well drained soil and keep moist in a dry summer.  Pinch off spent flowers to encourage re-blooming.  They are frost tolerant.  Planting depth is the same as in pot supplied and can be planted 50-60cm apart.

Catmint: (Zones 1,2,3)

Catmint is an easy to grow perennial.  They prefer a full sun positioning although plants in hot summer areas do well with some afternoon shade.  Plant in well-drained but not overly fertilised soil.   Plant 50-60cm apart with the top of the rootball level with the soil surface.  Water in thoroughly.  Cut plants back by about a third after first blooming is finished to neaten plant and encourage a second flush of flowers.  Divide every 3-4 years in spring or early autumn.

Chionodoxa: (Zones 1,2,3) - See also General Bulb Growing Instructions

They enjoy cool to temperate climates, or summer shading under trees in warmer areas. Plant 5cm deep and 5-10cm apart. Include a handful of sharp sand or grit and some peat when planting if possible. Propagation occurs through offsets around the older bulbs and by self-seeding. Seedlings flower in about 5 years. Suitable for container growing and can be moved indoors during flowering. Plant in autumn, flower late winter.

Clematis: (Zones 1,2,3,4)

Clematis are romantic ramblers, with exquisite flower forms and seed pods that will adorn your vertical surface.  They screen where needed and intermingle with trees and roses. They can grow in pots if you select a shorter variety, but will require a climbing frame.  A clematis’ success is attributed to preparation of the soil when planting, position and watering. In late winter to early spring add a dose of manure or compost around the base, not touching the stem.  Liquid fertilisers are useful too. They prefer a full sun to half sun position and will tolerate frosts. They like regular watering during summer but avoid water logging. They like to keep their roots cool in the shade (so under-planting and mulching are good ideas) and their heads in the sun.  The rhizome will go dormant in winter and the foliage can be cut back to within 30cm of the ground the first year, The second year cut back to 1m above the ground.  They range in height from 2-5 metres.  They are generally pest resistant. A little care in the first few years will create a hardy plant for years to come. 

Crocosmia: (Zones 1,2,3,4) - See also General Bulb Growing Instructions

They are very hardy and will tolerate almost any soil. Plant 20cm deep and 8cm apart in sun to part shade. Fertilise if needed in late spring for mid summer flowers. Can be slow to sprout, sometimes taking a number of weeks to do so, After blooming leave foliage in place to provide nourishment for next season’s show.

Crocus: (Zones 1,2,3,4)- See also General Bulb Growing Instructions

Crocus are great naturalisers and are relatively disease free. For best results crocus like a south facing aspect and are commonly planted around the roots of trees. Plant 5cm deep and 5-10cm apart. In warmer areas they like a layer of mulch to keep them cool in summer. Crocus chrysanthus feature multiple small flowers per bulb from small bulbs. Crocus vernus have larger bulbs and flowers. Flowers early spring.

Dahlias: (Zones 1,2,3,4)

Dahlias are bright showy Summer and Autumn flowers. The tubers are easy to grow and have a long flowering life from Summer well into Autumn. Plant from September to December when your area is free of frost. Plant 10cm deep and 60cm apart. Select a full sun to half sun position. Protection from the hottest sun is ideal. Prepare your ground with rotted animal manure, blood and bone, compost or general purpose fertiliser for top results. This can be supplemented by top dressing through the growing season.

Taller dahlias or dahlias with large flower heads can fall over in rain or high wind. If you intend to stake yours, drive in the stake first before planting. Tie loosely to the stake as the dahlia grows. When the dahlia has 4 or 5 sets of leaves (40cm tall), pinch out the main growing point to promote side shoots and more prolific flowering. Dahlias will stop flowering when they have finished their reproductive phase (setting seed). Stop them reaching this point by deadheading old flowers. Dahlias like to be pruned and the best way to do this is to pick the flowers and enjoy them.

Dahlias can be left in the ground in Australia but will form a mass of competing tubers in time. Lifting and dividing the clumps will give you the best possible year to year display. The clumps can be lifted when all the foliage has died after a frost or in mid Winter. Cut stem off near the ground, lift with a fork and carefully remove dirt or wash. Dry out and place in just moist sand or sawdust in a frost free environment. To divide, each tuber must have a section of the main stem including an eye (growing point). These are small pimples and hard to see at this stage. Store till frosts have finished and replant.

Note: Watch for slugs and snails. Too much nitrogen may result in lots of foliage but less blooms. High potassium and iron sulphate are recommended for increased blooms.

Damera peltata: (Zones 1,2)

Plant Damera in a semi shade position with the top of the bulbs just below the soil and approx. 30cm apart.  They like a moist situation making them ideal for around ponds.  They are rich feeders so mulch with compost annually.

Dicentra: (Zones 1,2,3) - See also General Bulb Growing Instructions

This plant is also known as "bleeding heart" because of its unusual heart shaped flowers. It has fern like leaves and likes part shade to full shade situations. Can grow in cool climates. Keep Dicentra moist but plant in well drained soil to avoid water logging. Fertilise with blood and bone or general purpose fertiliser at planting and then apply a topdressing in early spring. It will flower in mid to late spring. Plant 30cm apart and 5cm deep.

Dutch Iris: (Zones 1,2,3,4) - See also General Bulb Growing Instructions

Dutch Iris prefer temperate climates but will tolerate warmer conditions than tulips. They are reasonably hardy and will naturalise in the right conditions. Plant 10cm apart and 10cm deep. They are best planted in groups and will form clumps that can be separated after a few years. Water well from planting onwards to promote root growth. They make excellent cut flowers; cut when buds have begun to unfurl. Flower mid-late spring.

Dwarf Solomon's Seal: (Zones 1,2) - See also General Bulb Growing Instructions

This is a miniature version of Solomon’s Seal, a creeping colony-forming herbaceous perennial with small white dangling flowers emerging from the stem.  They prefer part sun all day or full morning sun then afternoon shade.  Plant approx. 20cm apart and 5cm deep in rich, moist and well draining soil.

Echinacea (Zones 1,2,3)

Plant in full sun, in well-drained soil, with some added fertiliser. Ensure they have adequate moisture all year round. They are frost tolerant Their emerging leaves need to be protected from snails in early spring, but apart from that they appear subject to no other pests or diseases. The stems can be cut to the ground in winter. They are very attractive to insects and butterflies and have some medicinal qualities which can be extracted from the leaves, roots and flowers.

Eryngium (Zones 1,2,3)

Also known as Sea Holly these tall perennials like a full sun positioning in moist well-drained soil, with a neutral or slightly alkaline pH. They are extremely frost tolerant. Planting depth is the same as in pot supplied and can be planted 70-80cm apart. They are not good potting plants.

Eupatorium (Zones 1,2,3)

These very tall perennials make a spectacular background border plant. They like a full sun to part shade positioning in moist well-drained soil, kept sufficiently moist over the summer. They are extremely frost tolerant. Planting depth is the same as in pot supplied and can be planted 60-70cm apart. Needs to be cut to the ground in winter. Attractive to butterflies.

Echinops: (Zones 1,2,3)

Echinops are a fairly drought resistant plant flowering in summer.  They are frost tolerant and like to be planted in a full sun situation.  They prefer a pH around 5.5-7.  Plant 60-90cm apart with the top of the rootball level with the soil surface.  Water regularly during dry periods. Cut back to the ground in autumn. They are good plants for growing at the back of borders and may require staking.

Echium: (Zones 1,2,3)

Echium can be planted in hot dry banks and rocky places where nothing else will thrive.  They are great for attracting bees and are very drought resistant, but do not like frosts particularly.  Plant in a full sun location. Planting depth is the same as in pot supplied and can be planted 50-60cm apart.

Erythronium: (Zones 1,2,3) - See also General Bulb Growing Instructions

Erythronium are happy in climates from Tasmania to Sydney. Enjoy dappled shade to full shade, so planting under deciduous trees is a lovely option. Fertilise with blood and bone or general purpose fertiliser at planting and then top-dress in spring. Plant 5cm deep and 10cm apart. Flower in late spring. Corms dry out quickly and should be planted straight away in well drained soil that will be moist.

Euphorbia Dulcis ‘Chameleon’: (Zones 1,2,3,4)

Euphorbia Dulcis ‘Chameleon’ only grows to about 40cm.  It is a great pot plant, and in the garden it likes a full sun position.  Plant with shoots just on the surface and approx. 20cm apart in a well drained soil with pH around 4.5-7.  A little compost dug into the soil will assist it’s growth or some blood and bone.  These plants will naturalise but if you need to move make sure they don't dry out and are kept damp.  Cut back to approx. 10cm above the ground after they die back.  They are frost tolerant.

Freesias: (Zones 1,2,3,4) - Also see general bulb growing instructions

Freesias are a naturalising bulb. Plant from March to May, 7cm apart and 5cm deep with the bulb pointing upward. Bulbs can be left for several years with a top dress of complete fertiliser during the autumn. Flowers in spring.

Fritillaria: (Zones 1,2,3) - Also see general bulb growing instructions

Best grown in cooler climates these delicate plants will need a sheltered environment. Unlike many bulbs they don’t like to dry out too much during their dormant period and are best planted as soon as they are received. A little extra manure or compost will help them along. Plant 10 to 15cm apart and 5cm deep. Fertilise with a little blood and bone after flowering.

Galanthus: (Zones 1,2) - Also see General Bulb Growing Instructions

Sweet and delicate white wings of petals with inner green patches that love to naturalise in the ground. Plant 8cm deep and 8 cm apart in shade to semi shade. Add a good handful of rich compost when planting. Damp pack if moving. Let leaves yellow and wither before removing spent foliage.

Geranium: (Zones 1,2,3) - See also General Bulb Growing Instructions

Delightful geraniums enjoys full sun and partial shade.They are a useful pretty plant which spreads between other perennials happily with very little maintenance. Likes an average to moist soil and is a vigorous grower making it a good groundcover. Grows to 20cm in height and is easy care. Plant in a full sun location. Planting depth is the same as in pot supplied and can be planted 50-60cm apart.

Geum:(Zones 1,2)

Bright long lasting easy maintenance. Enjoy fertile soil, full sun and not drying out. Plant in the front of the border, as the plant can be seen through. Divide every few years.

Gladioli: (Zones 1,2,3,4)

Gladioli love our warm Australian climate and do not particularly like frosts.  Plant with flat side facing down, when chances of frost have diminished.  They prefer sandy loam or well drained soil with a pH around 6-6.5, and a full sun to half sun, wind protected position.  Fertilise with blood and bone, compost or general purpose fertiliser when planting.  Plant 10-12cm deep and 10-20cm apart.  It is important to water them when the flower spikes are beginning to form.  The corms should be lifted and divided annually.  When lifted be sure to properly cure them and to keep them in a dry cool well ventilated place.  Thrip control can be applied while dormant.   Gladioli are prone to thrip damage that can leave streaks on the leaves and flowers.  Insecticides should be used to control these pests.  Although very tall (1-1.5 metres) they can be potted in a good pot placed in a sheltered location, but they may require staking.

Gladiolus Flanaganii: (Zones 1,2,3,4)

Gladiolus Flanaganii should be planted on receipt in well drained soil with a pH of 4.5-7.  They are frost tolerant and like a full sun positioning.  When you plant these bulbs you can add some blood and bone, or dig some compost into the soil.  Plant 5cm deep and 10cm apart.  They grow to about 20cm tall.

Gladiolus Nanus/communis: (Zones 1,2,3,4) - See also General Bulb Growing Instructions

These are good naturalisers and can be left alone for several years. They prefer a sunny position and are versatile growing in beds, pots & garden rockeries. Plant 7cm apart and 7cm deep. They grow 30-50cm tall and flower in late spring to early summer. Fertilise in spring.

Helenium: (Zones 1,2,3)

Plant in a sunny area where this lovely plant can form a good clump 50cm wide. Low maintenance as it is disease and insect resistant. Flowers from summer into autumn, and responds to deheading spent flowers. Keep moist for abundant flowering. Can be divided when established to create a stunning mass effect. Planting depth is the same as in pot supplied and can be planted 50-60cm apart.

Helleborus: (Zones 1,2,3)

Easy shade loving plants for winter show.  Choose a shady location with some winter sun. Plant 30-40cm apart with crown at soil surface. Evergreen, but old leaves and flowers can be removed in spring.  They need to be kept moist in summer, but are fairly water hardy once established.  Will spread by seed or split after flowering.

Hippeastrums: (Zones 1,2,3,4,5,6,)

These fantastic bulbs enjoy a warm climate but they will grow in a warm spot in the garden almost anywhere in Australia. They are best known in the Southern states as a house plant because you can watch them push up a great flower spike and see the large flowers develop. When planting in a pot for inside excitement choose a pot only 3-4 cm larger than your bulb. Plant your bulb approximately two thirds under the ground with its neck protruding from gritty well drained organic matter-rich potting mix. To feed, use a dose of rotted manure, compost or bulb fertiliser. When watering your pot never water directly on your bulb. Water sparingly until leaves develop. Put in a well lit spot in your house at about 21 degrees. When they flower they can be moved to a cooler spot to prolong flowering. Remember that the bulb has used up much of its energy producing the flower. You can cut the spent flower head back near the base, leaving the leaves to grow next year’s flower. Place them somewhere warm over Summer but shaded from the hottest sun. Keep moist and allow the foliage to die naturally, then keep dry. Bring them back into the warmth in Winter or Spring and promote rooting with some water. They will need re-potting every two or three years. To plant outdoors in the Southern states, grow in a warm sheltered spot with lots of sun, ideally with a wall near them to release heat. They love gritty free-draining soil possibly raised for Winter draining.

Hollyhocks (Alcea): (Zones 1,2,3,4)

Position in a sheltered, well-drained site. Water regularly during growth.  Plant with the crown at the soil surface 35-40cm apart.  If potting, plant to same depth as in pot supplied.  Can be cut back after flowering to promote new growth and prevent rust infection. Staking recommended.

Hostas: (Zones 1,2,3)

Hostas create fabulous foliage that looks great under deciduous trees.  Plant in shady to semi-shady locations in reasonably well drained soil and keep moist in a dry summer.   They are frost tolerant, drought resistant and grow to about 60cm.  Planting depth is the same as in pot supplied and can be planted 50-60cm apart.

Hyacinths: (Zones 1,2,3 - 4 as annuals) - Also see general bulb growing instructions

Hyacinths can be grown in the garden, pots and even in a hyacinth glass. In areas with winter frosts, plant in early autumn. In warmer climates, put in the crisper for 6 weeks in March and plant in May. Plant 10cm deep and 15cm apart. Bulbs require little water until the shoot has emerged. Top dress with blood and bone after flowering. They will come back year after year in cooler climates, but in warmer climates they benefit from pre-chilling, so lift the bulbs and store. Hyacinth bulbs can give a reaction to the skin: it is advised that you don’t over handle them, use gloves and wash hands after.

Iris Reticulata/Danfordiae:(Zones 1,2,3) - Also see general bulb growing instructions

This dwarf bulbous iris enjoys a wet winter and spring. They do not need much winter chilling, and so are easily grown in Australia’s warmer climates. They will multiply rapidly if the winter and spring temperatures are relatively low. This variety looks wonderful in small pots. Plant 5cm deep and 5-10cm apart. Flowers early spring.

Itoh/Intersectional Peony: (Zones 1,2,3)

They grow much like a herbaceous peony, however they might not always die back all the way to the ground. pH 6.5. Follow herbaceous instructions (below). Strong and vigorous, lots of flowers after a few years.

Herbaceous peonies come in a variety of forms, singles, doubles and semi-doubles and are often quite fragrant.  These lovely shrubs can grow to around 1 metre high and will normally take a few years to establish and flower well.  They grow from buds on a tuberous root and should be planted on arrival. Blood and bone or compost can also be mixed with the soil at planting.  They will benefit from a soil pH which is neutral (7.0) or at the most, only slightly acidic.  Plant in a full sun to half shade location with the top of the shoots maximum 5cm deep and approx. 1 metre apart.  Peonies are very hard to grow if you don't have a cold winter.  Plant in cold exposed locations with no winter mulch. If the peony is struggling to get established in it’s first year you can break off the buds to put more energy pack into the plant. Peonies are frost tolerant and are heavy feeders and best results will come with some care.  General purpose fertiliser should be applied during early spring and late autumn.   Peonies don't like to be disturbed, but during their dormant months (winter) you can lift and divide a large matt of roots.  Keep moist and cool after lifting. To prevent botrytis returning year on year cut stems back in autumn to 10cm above the ground.  Cut back before leaves drop to ground to prevent botrytis entering the crown.  They like regular watering during summer.  Peonies can grow in pots but it is more difficult, they need winter cooling and heavy fertilisation to make them flourish.

Ixia: (Zones 1,2,3,4) - Also see general bulb growing instructions

Ixia are relatively easy to grow, but require a bit of warmth and sun. Plant 5cm deep and 5-10cm apart. They like some complete fertiliser mixed with the soil and a top dress before flowering. They don’t need much water, it only becomes necessary prior to flowering. They will naturalise and form clumps that can be separated after a few years.