Bulbs for October
Autumn bulbs bring our gardens joy and colour in an unlikely season. There are many different and beautiful varieties to consider for your garden.
Crocuses are one of the best-known bulbs for autumn time. They bloom through the autumn leaves to bless your garden with colour. Try unusual species such as the purple Greek Crocus goulimyi and the stunning blue marbled Crocus cancellatus, which can be planted amongst silver birch stems for perfect colour complementation, to add some character and colour to your garden. You must plant autumn crocuses in May or June for them to flower in October. Autumn crocuses look best naturalised when planted in grasses, under trees or at the front of borders, but can be susceptible to damage from heavy rain.
Nerine bowdenii is a stunning pink bulb that flowers from September onwards, making a breath-taking sight on an Autumn morning. Native to South Africa, this dependable plant is surprisingly easy to establish in UK gardens and remains largely intact throughout winter. This bulb perfectly suits Mediterranean style gardens and sits well with grey and glaucous foliage. Nerines grow best in full sun with free-draining soil
The Queens Olga’s snowdrop (reginae-olgae) is an October opening snowdrop, very closely related to its more famous winter cousins. A tough and reliable plant, it has been recorded surviving winters as cold as -17 degrees. The beautiful white bulb is easy to grow in and match with other plants to add character to your garden. Snowdrops grow best in deep soil and sun or partial shade.
Sternbergia lutea possess stunning yellow goblets for many weeks throughout autumn and early winter, earning it the nickname the “autumn daffodil”. Plant them in large clumps or sprinkle them throughout rocky areas for the best aesthetics., Plant sternbergia’s in summer in reasonably fertile, sharply drained soil. Protect them from excessively heavy rain, but allow them to grow in full sun as this is when they usually flower.
Cyclamen hederifolium is an autumn flowering cyclamen that is perfect for brightening up the shady areas of your garden. It’s dainty but resilient pink or white flowers open from August onwards and its silvery foliage persists through to the end of winter. This species of cyclamen grows in shady areas where other plants struggle, making it excellent for woodlands. It prefers light, humus-rich soil that’s well-drained.
The elegant Gladiolus murielae flower into a beautiful white bulb on the end of long, slender stems from the end of summer to late October. Grow this beautiful flower in groups and surrounded by foliage for the best aesthetics. Gladiolus should be grown in full sun and well-drained soil and should be lifted and stored in a dry frost-free place through winter before replantation in spring
Tuberous begonias are ideal for adding colour and vibrance to shady patios and other areas of your garden. Tubers such as ‘million kisses elegance’ and ‘illumination scarlet’ will flower from summer until the first frosts appear in November or December, although they are best lifted before this, so bulbs can be planted in the new year. Tubers grow best in full sun or partial shade and when well-watered. Tubers are perfect candidates to be grown in hanging baskets at doorways where you can appreciate their beauty at their best
Hesperantha coccinia flowers from September until the first frosts and is the perfect choice if you’re looking to add colour to your borders throughout autumn with its beautiful lilac flowers. Hesperanthia grows best in a sheltered, yet sunny site and thrives in milder conditions. To gain the best results, dig in organic matter before planting and water well during summer
Colchicum ‘Waterlily’ is a double flowering form of colchicum with rosy purple petals resembling that of a waterlily. Waterlily flowers in October, with a surprisingly rain resilient mass of flowers developing as each bulb slowly expands. After flowering, the foliage remains until mid-summer the next year. Grow this bulb in full sun, in well-drained fertile soil
White Powell Lily
Crinum x powellii ‘Album’ is a stunning South African hybrid that produces lovely lily-like scented, trumpet-shaped flowers for a long period from August to October. Plant them in moist but well-drained, fertile soil in full sun. For best results, plant the bulbs with their necks above the soil and protect them from frost in colder areas, an autumn mulch may help them survive cold winters.
Peruvian Swamp Lily
Despite what its name suggests, Zephyranthes candida should not be planted in a bog and isn’t even closely related to lilies, by Amaryllis. The white bulb blooms from late-summer to mid-autumn and sometimes possess pink tints on the back of the bulb. Plant it in moist but well-drained soil in full sun for best results.