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When to plant Tubers & Summer Bulbs

I live in the South Manchester area and have just bought some Dahlia Blue Boy Tubers, Trailing Begonia Tubers and some mixed summer flower bulbs. So here we are on 25th February. Having Googled for guidance and remain confused, please may I ask several questions hoping that you will provide an un-confident container gardener with some advice.
A. The Dahlias. Can I plant these directly outside in containers without starting them off in a seed tray (Google) if so, when? And if the container is large enough to spread one tuber horizontally at the bottom (Google) - is that large enough?
B. The Begonias (Pendula Trailing). I plan to plant these in a container with a rim diameter of about 12". Again, can I plant these directly outside and if so, when. Also how many tubers to the container, I was thinking 4? More?
C. The summer flower bulbs. I am assuming these will be ok planted out maybe late April?
Any advice and guidance would be very much appreciated :smile:

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  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,481
    These begonias are in 12” tubs, one in each, if you want to get the best from them and build the tubers up for next year,  I would put one.   I start them off in trays indoors indoors, plant out 1st June.
     
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Hi Lynn, Thanks for getting back to me. So, just place the tubers on top of some potting compost in a seed tray then wait until the sprout and plant them out?

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 33,993
    What kind of summer bulbs do you have Paul? If you have them now, you need to pot them up at least, or they'll get a bit dried out. Lilies for instance, can be planted outside now if the soil and conditions are suitable, or in pots outside. 
    Less hardy types can be kept somewhere sheltered - cold frame or similar - until the temps are suitable for them to be outdoors completely.  If you don't have a cold frame/greenhouse, you can keep them in a porch or on a cool windowsill. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure. In the garden centre I saw the dahlia and begonia tubers both of which I love then I saw bags of mixed bulbs with pictures of different summer flowers?? It just said 'Loose Bulbs XXL Flower Bulbs?? Sorry, I'm a real novice!
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,481
    Hi Lynn, Thanks for getting back to me. So, just place the tubers on top of some potting compost in a seed tray then wait until the sprout and plant them out?

    That’s all you do Paul, wait until the shoots are about 3” tall then put into final pots, keep in until end of May start of June and put them out. 
    Heres mine, I don’t usually start them off this early, but these were starting to sprout in their paper wrap, so I had to start them now. The others I’m hoping won’t start to sprout until mid March.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Perfect Lynn. Thank you  :)
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 33,993
    Hi Paul - have you got a photo of the bag the bulbs came in? They often have a pic.
    If not, I'd just pot them up, separating them into ones that all look the same, and going by the size of the bulbs as far as you can. Then keep them somewhere sheltered. Some could be hardy as I said before, but some could need frost protection, so if you can get them undercover for another month or six weeks, they should be fine to plant out.
    Once they've grown a bit, we can probably help more with what they are, and failing that, they should be easy enough once they flower  :)
    When you have an ID for them, you can label them and plant accordingly later on, or leave them if they're ok in the site you have them in. Any that aren't hardy can be lifted if you want to keep them for future years too.
    You may need to move some if they're too tall or small for the place you've planted them. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,481
    Just thinking @Paul Anthony maybe your begonia corms are those very small ones? If they are about 1 - 2” across, you could put more in your containers, 2 or 3. All depends on the size.
    Our GC has some huge ones, about 3 - 4” across, those I would plant  singularly.   
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Fairygirl said:
    Hi Paul - have you got a photo of the bag the bulbs came in? They often have a pic.
    If not, I'd just pot them up, separating them into ones that all look the same, and going by the size of the bulbs as far as you can. Then keep them somewhere sheltered. Some could be hardy as I said before, but some could need frost protection, so if you can get them undercover for another month or six weeks, they should be fine to plant out.
    Once they've grown a bit, we can probably help more with what they are, and failing that, they should be easy enough once they flower  :)
    When you have an ID for them, you can label them and plant accordingly later on, or leave them if they're ok in the site you have them in. Any that aren't hardy can be lifted if you want to keep them for future years too.
    You may need to move some if they're too tall or small for the place you've planted them. 
    You're really going to laugh at me now, I'm an idiot! This afternoon I decided I needed to pot up the dahlias and begonias which I did according to Lyn's advice. I then opened the bag of what I 'thought' would be a random selection of summer bulbs ... only to find one HUGE bulb in the bag!! Now the XXL makes perfect sense. So, I've potted it up in a large container and placed it in my very small greenhouse (An Aldi special). Hopefully, we won't get any more really cold weather so I'll keep an eye on it and hope for the best. I have absolutely no idea what will grow from such a huge bulb, I have NEVER seen anything quite like it. It'll be like Christmas waiting to see what Santa has brought me :) Thanks for helping me out. Whatever happens, I'll let you know.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,481
    You really need to know what the bulb is before you plant it, some bulbs you leave the pointy bit stuck out of the compost. 
    Well done on starting off your begonia corms,  keep them in the warm,  perhaps you can put a photo on when they start to shoot and someone can give you more instructions from there. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

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