Tulip - Tulip bulbs should be planted in late autumn when temperatures have cooled down, any time up to the end of November; they do not start rooting as early as other bulbs, and should be kept cool when first planted. Bulbs are best lifted to guarantee flowering the following year, bulbs that are left in the ground may only produce a 30-40 percent return the following year. Plant in well-drained, fertile soil in a sunny spot. For Tulips that are to be left in the ground after flowering, pull off old leaves and stems once they have withered and be sure not to leave any tulip petals rotting on the ground. Keep site relatively clear of other vegetation during the summer so that the bulbs receive the sun’s warmth to ripen them. Apply an annual dressing of either potash-rich fertiliser or sulphate of potash in late winter or early spring, before young shoots appear. After flowering the tulips can be dug up if the site or containers are otherwise needed, and the bulbs - complete with foliage - can be planted in an odd corner of the garden out of the way until the leaves turn yellow. Once the leaves have turned completely yellow, lift again and place in boxes in a dry shed or garage where they will be warm but not in direct sunlight. When dry, clean off the old stems, roots and soil and keep the bulbs for replanting in the autumn. Plant 8-10cm (3-4”) deep.
Narcissi - Can be grown in many ways. Some are suited to informal planting in rough grass in sun or partial shade, where they may be left to flower for years without any attention. Some do well in hedged banks; other more formal varieties are suited to borders, where they provide early colour before the summer-flowering plants commence. These can also be left undisturbed for several years. Many of the smaller species and varieties suit rock gardens and will fill small gaps between other plants. In all cases let the leaves die down completely, or at least become yellow, before removing them. This is necessary to allow the foliage to feed the bulbs, thus ensuring flower production in subsequent years. The bulbs do best in soil which is reasonably well-drained, but not too light and sandy, so that it does not dry out excessively - soil conditions are a most important factor in getting the best results. After flowering, the soil must not be allowed to become waterlogged before the foliage dies, as this can retard bulb growth for the following season. Failures with bulbs are frequently due to planting too deeply or too shallowly. A good general rule to follow is to cover the bulb with soil one and half to twice its own depth. Plant 10-20cm (4-8”) apart, depending on variety.
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