Getting the garden ready for Spring Flowering Bulbs with Kids

Getting the garden ready for Spring Flowering Bulbs with Kids

Boy in garden on Tractor with spring flowers

Late March and early April is the best time to plant your bulbs in Auckland for your flowers to be ready for Spring.

Planting Bulbs in Autumn with Kids for Spring Flowers

Planting bulbs is a lot of fun and you and your children will love watching the flowers bloom in Spring.

There are lots of bulbs to choose from that will grow well in New Zealand gardens. Some of our favourite spring flowers are  Freesias, Daffodils, Jonquils (similar to daffodils), Tulips, Anemones, Ranunculus, Irises and Hyacinths.

It helps if you buy some bulb fertiliser to put underneath the bulb. You can either plant the bulbs in the garden or into pots.

Spring Tulips in the garden

How do you prepare bulbs for planting?

Some bulbs especially tulips need chilling for up to 6 weeks in the fridge to stimulate winter conditions in Auckland. Keep them in a paper bag in the fridge away from fruit and vegetables as they release ethylene which damages flower and root formation inside the bulb. Hyacinths, daffodils and crocus can also be put in the fridge.

Iris spring flower in the garden
Iris flowers

How may bulbs can you plant together?

Tulips are best planted in groups of 10 bulbs. 

For daffodils take a handful of bulbs and scatter them on the ground. Then where ever they drop you can plant them there. By scattering them they will be in an irregular pattern and look more natural in your garden.

If you are planting spring flowers in pots, then you should try to plant them around 3 cms apart.

Freesia bulbs are best planted in a group and roughly 2 cms apart. Remember to dig holes about 5cms deep for the bulbs. 

Most spring bulbs look best when planted in big irregular groupings as this is how they grow in nature.

Spring bulbs planted in a basket

How deep do you plant the bulbs?

Generally, it’s best to dig a hole that is twice the height of the bulb. 

For tulips, you should dig the ground and fertilise it with compost or sheep pellets. After adding the fertiliser make the hole 20cms deep. plant the bulb , then cover it with dirt. You should have around 5 cms of dirt above the top of each bulb when you finish.


Daffidols in the garden
Daffidol flowers

Do you plant bulbs up or down?

If the bulb has a pointy end that is the side that faces up. If you can’t see a pointy end look for where the shoots come out and that is the end of the bulb that goes down.

Bulbs in the garden
Spring flower bulbs

Do you need to soak bulbs before planting?

No, you don’t need to soak flower bulbs.

What do you need to do differently if you are planting the bulbs in the garden or in the pot?

Most bulbs do best in full sun with at least 6 hours of direct sun per day.

However when you plant your bulbs in pots, you should keep them in a shady place and water then regularly until shoots appear. Then once the roots appear you can move them into the full sun, like on your windowsill.  


Spring bulbs and flowers in pots on a window sill
Hyacinths and more spring flowers in pots

What do you need to do to look after the bulbs once they are planted?

After planting your bulbs you can put mulch over the top of the bulbs. Remember to water them regularly and once the leaves are growing give them a liquid feed regularly too.

Ranancula flower
Ranancula flower