Alan Titchmarsh explains how to choose the most ‘reliable’ plant bulbs

Alan Titchmarsh gives advice on planting daffodil bulbs

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Gardening expert and TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh shared his tips for choosing the most “reliable” bulbs in a video for Waitrose & Partners in 2013. While most plant bulbs may look healthy, Alan has shared how you can tell if a bulb is going to reliably produce flowers. Alan said: “Before you buy the bulbs, just check, not by putting your nail into them.

“But feel them. They need to be firm.

“The fatter they are and the harder they are, the more reliable they are when it comes to growing.”

Alan also shared how you deeply you should plant larger and smaller bulbs.

He explained: “The big fat ones obviously need to go deeper.”

Daffodil bulbs, for example, need to be planted three times their own depth.

Once you’ve figured out how deep to plant them, get your trowel out and plant them in “little clumps”.

Alan added: “That way you’ll have wonderful flowers come the spring, February and March.”

The gardening expert also advised which daffodil bulbs garden enthusiasts should buy.

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Most people tend to buy big bulbs which often equal taller, larger flowers.

So for those with a smaller garden who don’t want very tall plants, Alan suggested choosing dwarf varieties that have slightly smaller bulbs.

He said: “Now you may be used to these big fat ones – King Alfred’s and Carlton monster bulbs.

“Plants that grow about two feet high and then come the snow and the rain they all fall over the slugs leap on board and eat them.

“They’re reliable but the trouble is they’re not that brilliant for a small garden.”

However, for those with a smaller garden who don’t want massively tall plants, Alan suggested choosing dwarf varieties which have slightly smaller bulbs.

They also have “slightly shorter flowers” which can look less overwhelming in a small garden.

Alan suggested the “tête-à-tête” variety which has two flowers at the top of each stalk.

Other dwarf varieties include “little witch” and “jetfire”.

He continued: “They’re so much more suited to a small garden.

“They’re also reasonably priced – 18 of these for £3.99. Everyone’s a winner.”

Spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils need to be planted preferably by the end of September.

Hardy plants such as lilies and alliums need to be planted in September and October.

Alan Titchmarsh: Spring Into Summer airs tonight at 8pm on ITV

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