New spring flowering bulbs put to the testWe reveal the best new bulbs to buy this year

07 September 2011

NB7 Golden Riot RW

Tulips, daffodils and hyacinths herald the start of spring in the garden, but to get the best results you need to start planning your displays now.

This month garden centres will be stocking their shelves with a dazzling array of the latest colours and forms. Bulb suppliers are reporting an early and brisk start to the main bulb-buying season, so to get the best selection and quality available buy them now.

Which? Gardening spring-flowering bulb trials

Every year Which? Gardening grows a selection of the best new bulb varieties available to see how they perform in the garden.

Last autumn we planted 40 new bulb introductions at our trials ground at Capel Manor College in north London, and observed how they grew and flowered during the spring. You can find the full story, along with all of our recommended varieties, in the September issue of Which? Gardening magazine.

Which? recommended spring bulb varieties

With so many varieties introduced every year it can be confusing to pick just a few, so why not try planting some of our Best Buy bulbs?

Recommended tulips

This year we loved the velvety, red-frilled flowers of Tulipa ‘Red Hat’, and the understated elegance of white Tulipa ‘Daytona’.

For something a bit different, try pink and green Tulipa ‘Christmas Exotic’, which is shorter stemmed so would be great for growing in pots; or why not try Tulipa ‘Yellow Pomponette’, which has bright-yellow double flowers that look like enormous buttercups.

Recommended daffodils

If its classic daffodils you’re after, you couldn’t go far wrong with Narcissus ‘Golden Riot’, which performed fabulously in our trials this year, coping admirably with the unseasonably hot spring.

For something a bit different, try the striking Narcissus ‘Hungarian Rhapsody’, which has an unusual contrasting split corona (centre).

Top tips for buying spring bulbs

  • Buy as early as you can to get the best selection and quality.
  • Buying larger quantities or by the weight can often give better value for money.
  • Check that bulbs are firm and show no signs of mould.
  • Store them in a cool, dry, dark place until you are ready to plant them.

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