The Best Bulbs to Plant This Autumn

Every garden needs bulbs - they are a guarantee of spring colour. Autumn is the prime season for bulb planting as bulbs are in top condition and the soil is really workable.

Hillier offers an extensive range of bulbs, which arrive in Garden Centres from the end of August. From much-loved Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinths, Crocuses and Alliums to our Hillier Collections and some really unusual new varieties, we can help you prepare for a garden bursting with colour come spring, as well as a few of the hardy summer-flowering bulbs that can be planted in autumn.

When to Plant Bulbs

As an approximate guide, these are the best months to plant some of the most-loved bulbs: 

September: Hyacinths (choose prepared Hyacinths if you want them to flower in time for Christmas) and Narcissi (Daffodils) and Crocuses for spring colour 

October: Alliums for summer colour and Tulips for spring colour 

November: Tulips for spring colour 

 If you are a little late with your bulbs, don’t worry: if the soil is still workable they can still be planted!

New to Hillier in 2019

Try something different this year with one of the new bulbs to our range. 

Narcissus ‘Fortissimo’

In the music world, fortissimo means ‘to be played loudly’ and, in keeping with this, Naricissus ‘Fortissimo’ makes a real statement in the garden. It produces giant, bright yellow blooms, which are up to 12cm across, with a slightly frilled red-orange cup. This standout variety makes an excellent cut flower and naturalises well.

Flowering time: February-March

Sun requirements: Full sun/partial shade

Eventual size: Grows to 50cm height

Tulip 'Flaming Kiss'

Tulip ‘Flaming Kiss’ is a pretty, Rembrandt style tulip, with beautiful white flowers splashed with deep pink. It holds its flowers for an unusually long time, creating an attractive display from mid to late spring.

Flowering time: April - May

Sun requirements: Full sun/ partial shade

Eventual size: Grows to 35cm height

Allium 'Graceful Beauty'

Allium ‘Graceful Beauty’ is a compact variety that produces eye-catching, white, globeshaped flowerheads in late spring. Look closely and you will see that these are comprised of starry, white, six-petalled flowers with lavender-colour stamens and purple anthers. Lovely grown en-masse in beds and borders.

Flowering time: April-May

Sun requirements: Full sun

Eventual size: Grows to 30cm height

Bulb Guide

Alongside new varieties, we have an extensive range of loose and pre-packed bulbs for you to select from. We highlight some of the most popular varieties in centres.

Golden Narcissi

Image: Narcissi 'Tête-á-Tête'

The word ‘daffodil’ is synonymous with ‘narcissus’. Narcissus is simply the Latin, or botanical, name. Daffodils are some of the most popular flowers due to their unmatched beauty, with their trumpet-shaped structure set against a star-shaped background.

Our best botanical Narcissi include Tête-á-Tête and Minnow, however we have over 15 varieties to choose from.

Top Tulips

Image: Tulip 'Angelique'

Tulips are perhaps the most colourful and beautiful flowers with their lovely cup flowers. Hillier has over 25 different-coloured varieties. Tulip ‘Red Riding Hood’ is a classically beautiful choice, with elegant scarlet flowers. It is a variety of Greigii Tulip, all of which have distinctive variegated leaves.

Another real favourite with customers is Tulip ‘Angelique’. It bears classic, feminine, soft pink flowers that look like peonies with full, slightly ruffled petals.

Showy Alliums

Image: Allium 'Purple Sensation'

Alliums, also known as ornamental onions, are grown for their wonderfully showy flower heads. These come in wide range of sizes and shades of blue, purple, white and yellow. Our top recommendation is Allium ‘Purple Sensation’. Other great varieties include Allium ‘giganticeum’ ‘Mount Everest’ and ‘christophii’.

Prepared and Planted Hyacinths

Image: Hyacinth 'Delft Blue'

At this time of year, Hyacinths are popular for two reasons. They are either purchased with the goal of having a beautiful flower at Christmas time or planted in the garden to flower in the spring.

If you want your Hyacinth to bring colour and scent to your home over Christmas, you need to purchase ‘prepared’ Hyacinths. Plant into pots or containers before the end of September to give them a chance of flowering for Christmas. Keep in a cool, dark room until their shoots are about 2cm tall. They should flower 10-12 weeks from potting. We have four varieties of prepared Hyacinth; Pink Pearl, Delft Blue, Jan Bos and White Pearl.

If you want your hyacinth to bring spring colour to your garden, then plant unprepared Hyacinth varieties in rows in your borders or in containers in September. You should enjoy the first blooms in March or April. We offer six unprepared Hyacinth varieties; Woodstock, Carnegie, Fondant, Rembrandt, Gipsy Queen and Purple Sensation.