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Naturalizing Bulbs in Lawns

Naturalizing simply means that once plants are established, they increase in numbers naturally.  The hopefully end result is a fantastic drift of crocuses or whatever type of bulb you have used.  Naturalizing is typically done in lawns or other areas of grass. It can also be done in borders just make sure the bulbs are going to be left undisturbed!

While you can naturalize any type of bulb, it is mainly spring flowering bulbs that are used when naturalizing in lawns and other areas of grass so that the grass can still be cut afterwards.  Just use vigorous species and varieties (that doesn't necessarily mean largest!) that can be left alone to their own devices.  The following all work very well: Anemone nemorosa, Crocus chrysanthus, C. sieberi  C. tommasinianus , most daffodils, Galanthus nivalis & Scilla siberica

Crocuses

You should leave at least six weeks after flowering before mowing, and ideally until the foliage goes yellow. Spring flowering 'bulbs' stock up on food and create next years flower before the foliage dies down.  This means any kind of tying up leaves or other tidying is less then useful with any bulb!

Planting the bulbs is easy, just sometimes tedious if you're doing a lot! For larger  bulbs, in the autumn, scatter the bulbs over the chosen area and then dig individual planting holes using a bulb planter or trowel.  The holes need to be three times the depth of the bulb.  Drop in the bulb and then replace the plug of turf.

Another option useful for smaller 'bulbs' like crocuses is to lift sections of tuft and scatter the bulbs underneath before replacing the turf. Firm the turf by hand or by gently tamping with the back of a rake to make sure its level with the surrounding turf.

After that, wait and see what happens.  Do remember, however, that naturalised bulbs takes years to achieve and regardless of how many you planted it never looks that much in the first few years.  Patience.

Daffodils