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A guide to growing bulbs: Plant your winter garden

The garden, our little slice of heaven. Do you delight in the beauty of delicate petals opening to the skies? Colourful blossoms dancing in the breeze, sweet floral fragrances filling the air and the peaceful twittering of birds in the trees. There’s no better place to pass the time. Do you want to grow bulbs for a beautiful garden all year round? Green thumb or not, there’s no reason we all shouldn’t experience the joy of our flower beds in full bloom. Flower bulbs are the perfect embellishment for a glorious garden. If you plant at the right time and follow the instructions, your bulbs are sure to grow and blossom.

grow bulbs

How to grow bulbs

Bulbs are usually bigger and different in structure to seeds. Considered a modified root, the structure carries the complete life cycle of the plant within. They all have a base plate from where the roots emerge and a top growth point for the flower. Inside, the bulb consists of layers with the flower bud in the centre which emerges as the plant grows.

Growing bulbs is a rewarding process. While bulbs do have periods of dormancy, their flowering time is a wonder to behold. Bright yellows, dazzling whites, soothing lilacs – the colours are spectacular. Planting times are seasonal and vary depending on when your bulbs are due to flower. Winter and spring blooming bulbs are better suited to cooler temperatures and need the winter period for growth. Autumn is the perfect time to plant your winter bulbs. While some bulbs may flower in winter, many winter bulbs come alive in the spring. Hyacinths, daffodils, irises, freesias and tulips are just a few of your options.

grow bulbs

Preparing to grow bulbs

All Hadeco’s bulbs come packaged with planting instructions. When to plant, flowering time and lighting requirements are all found on the packet, as well as instructions for actual planting. Always consult the packaging if you are uncertain, but there are some general rules to follow when growing bulbs. Whether you’re planting in containers or the garden, if you follow the planting instructions and give your bulbs plenty of water, you’re already on the path to success.

Growing bulbs in pots

Let’s start with container planting. Some bulbs are more suitable for pots than others, hyacinths, in particular, grow well in pots. (Read our article on hyacinths to discover more). Place potting soil into your container, leaving space at the top to place your bulbs. Position them with the base on the potting mix, pointed end upwards. The packet details the distance bulbs must be placed from each other. Be careful not to overcrowd your container. Planting them too close together will affect their growth. Once placed in the container, cover the bulbs with the rest of the soil (the packet will tell you how deep they need to be). Bulbs generally prefer well-draining soil, be sure to select a container with adequate drainage. Place your pot in an area suitable for the plant’s light requirements and water well every four days, making sure the water drains out the bottom. Nourish your growing bulbs with Hadeco Bulb Food.

Growing bulbs in the garden

Bulbs look beautiful when planted in your flowerbeds. Before planting, prepare your bed by adding compost and bone meal and digging it into the soil. Freesias are lovely bulbs for the garden and are native to South Africa, making them well-suited to the climate. (Discover more about freesias). When growing bulbs outdoors, follow the packet’s planting instructions to determine depth and spacing. Although your flower beds provide more space than a container, you still need to leave enough room for the roots to develop. Use a planter tray (available from Hadeco’s online store) to protect the bulbs from pests and moles. Position the tray in the ground, placing some soil over the bottom, and then plant your bulbs inside the tray. Cover with soil. Apply Hadeco Bulb Food immediately after planting (and then monthly). Sprinkle the bulb food over the soil and water in. Don’t forget to water your growing bulbs every four days.


Whether you’re planting in pots, window boxes or the ground, you can over-sow or over-plant your bulbs with other seeds, such as pansies, violas or Alyssum. These flowers will provide colour while your bulbs are growing and also act as a mulch. Adding mulch to your flower beds helps retain moisture in the soil and protect the bulbs roots, and makes your beds look attractive. Bark chips, fallen leaves, and pebbles are all great options when adding mulch.

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What to do after your bulbs have flowered

Surely there can be nothing more pleasing than a sea of daffodils dancing in the breeze as spring awakens. Your flowering bulbs will brighten up your garden and home with delightful fragrances and an abundance of colour. As the flowering period comes to an end, you may be tempted to trim back the plants – don’t do this. After the flowering has finished, allow the green growth to die off naturally, ensuring all the energy goes back into the bulb. Doing this will help your bulb flower again the following year.

Clusters of vibrant, flowering bulbs are an asset to any garden. Don’t be daunted by the prospect of growing bulbs. As long as you keep them nourished and watered, and plant according to the instructions, there is no reason your bulbs shouldn’t bloom in all their glory. Visit Hadeco’s online store and stock up on winter bulbs. Your spring garden will be a haven you never want to leave.

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Fabulous Freesias: A symbol of friendship

The symbol of friendship, sweetness and trust, Freesias were discovered by Christian P Ecklon, who named them after his friend, the German botanist Friedrich Freese. Appealing to both the nose and eyes, this bloom is a much-loved South African native. The gorgeous funnel-shaped flowers are a striking sight to behold, their sweet scent tickling the senses. A classic fragrance, it is often found infused in our favourite perfumes, soaps, and scented candles.  

A perennial flowering bulb, the Freesia is a genus of 14 to 16 native South African species in the family Iridaceae. The majority of the species, twelve dozen, are found in the Cape Provinces. The bright colour options make these plants a beautiful addition to any garden or container. They are also a popular choice for cut flowers, their fragrant scent filling the room.


Encourage your Freesias to bloom

Freesias are thought of as winter bulbs. They remain dormant during the hot, dry Cape summers, preferring the cooler weather and rains of autumn and winter. The bulbs are nurtured through the colder months and awaken in spring to provide a colourful display of beautifully fragrant blooms.

The best time to plant your Freesias is from mid-April to May. This will ensure and stunning exhibition of blossoms from August to September. While culture and hardiness are species-specific, most Freesias should be planted in well-draining, slightly acidic soil that is rich in organic matter. Do not water your Freesias excessively. Rather let the soil dry for a few days between watering. When planting your Freesias, select an area that is sunny to partly sunny and consider planting a mass of bulbs together for high visual impact. When planted at intervals, the bulbs will flower in succession, keeping your beds in bloom.  

Stock up on Freesia bulbs

It’s impossible to go wrong adding Freesias to your garden. Gorgeous bold colours and deliciously fragrant, your beds will sing with beauty. The bulbs also flourish in containers, providing a wonderful option for patios and balconies, as well as indoor house plants. Freesias are ideal cut flowers, snip off a few blooms and place in vases around the house. Keep the spirit of friendship alive and gift a few cuttings to your friends and family.


Let the sweet fragrance of Freesias enliven your flower beds. Hadeco stocks a selection of Freesia bulbs. Choose between white, yellow, pink, lilac, and red with a yellow centre. Or, select a mixed pack and relish in a glorious assortment of colour. Buy your bulbs here.

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Pokon: Help your orchids flourish

Based in the Netherlands, Pokon is a market leader in plant care for the consumer. The company develops innovative solutions for plant care in the home and garden. Their extensive product range includes potting soils, fertiliser and plant food, and lawn seed. The range of Pokon plant foods is specialised for specific flowers, ensuring your blooms get the exact nutrients they need. A popular flower found in many homes all over the world is the orchid. With Pokon Orchid Plant Food, you can be sure your orchid will flourish and produce gorgeous flowers time and time again


Beautiful blooming orchids

Exuding elegance and grace, the delicate orchid is a symbol of love, luxury, and beauty. These exotic plants produce ornate, intricate flowers that look beautiful in the home. The orchid family is a large one, with bright, colourful blooms that are easy to distinguish from other plants. Most orchids are natural epiphytes, growing clinging on to other objects, such as rough bark or stone. Yet, they can be grown successfully in pots with the correct care. While many types prefer to grow outdoors or in the greenhouse, there are a few species suitable for growing in the home. The moth orchid (Phalaenopsis), dancing lady (Oncidium types), and slipper orchid (Paphiopedilum) will all thrive indoors with the correct care. If you provide the ideal environment and nourishment your orchid will bloom beautifully.


Caring for your orchid

As a favourite houseplant, orchids do require the right care to ensure they grow and flourish. In their natural habitat, orchids can be found with their roots dangling in the air as they cling to trees. Providing a desirable environment is the first step towards success with orchids. A light spot out of direct sunlight and aerated, well-draining soil are necessary for your orchid to thrive. Pokon offers an extra-airy potting soil with bark chips designed to provide the optimum environment for your orchid.

It’s important to supply your orchid with enough nourishment, particularly if you want luscious blooms again and again. Pokon produces a plant food formulated specifically for the growth of orchids. Perfectly balanced for the care of your orchid, this fertiliser should be given once every week and can be used all year round. To prepare the orchid food, mix 5 ml of fertiliser per litre of water, be careful not to over-feed your plant. This applies to watering as well, too much water will cause the roots to rot.


Orchids are a sought-after choice when it comes to plants for the home. Keep your orchid well nourished and watch it blossom. Hadeco stocks a range of Pokon products, including the Pokon Orchid Plant Food. Buy your plant food from our online store. We also have a wonderful range of winter bulbs currently in stock. Visit our store here.

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Hyacinth: A fragrant beauty

Anyone who loves beautiful things will adore a garden of hyacinths. From ancient Greek lore to French royalty, these gorgeous blooms have been a favourite throughout history. Originating from the eastern Mediterranean and West and Central Asia, hyacinths are grown and adored all over the world. In South Africa, the most commonly seen hyacinths stem from plants cultivated in the Netherlands during the 18th century and are either blue, pink or white.

Fragrant and striking, hyacinths were a favourite of Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France. She had hundreds of hyacinths delivered to the palace daily to be placed in vases and used in her perfumes. The flowers have a strong, sweet scent that fills the garden or home with a heady aroma. Plant the bulbs between April and May for a vibrant winter garden that welcomes the spring. The bulb’s colouring will indicate the colour of the flower, allowing you to plan splendid displays of colour. Plant the same coloured bulbs together for impressive flower beds.



Growing hyacinth

Hyacinths are a beautiful addition to any garden. Whether they are adorning the flower beds or blooming in pots, hyacinths look gorgeous inside and out. These fragrant flowers are uncomplicated and relatively simple to grow if you place them correctly. Preferring cooler temperatures, the hyacinth is best suited to a cool spot with morning sun and afternoon shade. Bulbs grown in containers should be kept in a shaded spot outdoors for the cold to encourage root growth.  

The best time to plant hyacinths is late autumn to early winter for a colourful display from July to September. Bulbs should be planted in a well-draining soil mixed with some compost. The ideal soil is equal parts clay, sand and organic matter. Give your bulbs extra care by adding a 3 CM layer of mulch over the soil. This will keep the soil at a constant temperature and retain moisture. Once planted, hyacinth bulbs require generous, regular watering every three to four days. Potted hyacinths can be moved indoors once they are in bloom. Their rich colour and lovely fragrance will brighten up any room. Hyacinths brought indoors should be placed outside at night, the colder temperature makes the flowers last longer. Feed them every two weeks with Hadeco Bulb Food for the best results.

Hyacinths are timeless beauties, from ancient Greece to French queens to modern day. Prepare for a gorgeous garden blooming with hyacinths. Bulbs are available from Hadeco’s online store. Buy your bulbs here.

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Chrysal flower food: A guide to cut flower care

There’s nothing more beautiful than a blooming bouquet of flowers to brighten up a room. All cut flowers need proper care for the best possible vase life. Whether you are a grower, retailer, or consumer, the correct treatment can extend the life of your cut flowers. Chrysal produces flower food designed to provide cut flowers with the necessary nourishment to keep them in bloom. Pair Chrysal’s flower food with proper treatment and your bouquets will have the maximum lifespan.


Chrysal’s flower food

The treatment of cut flowers

Flowers need different care once cut from the mother plant. Everything from the water to the vase to the environment can affect the lifespan of your cut flowers. Flowers that received optimum care during the growing phase will have the best chance post-harvest. After harvesting, flowers can be affected by both the temperature and humidity. High temperatures cause cut flowers to develop too quickly, while humidity causes the fungus Botrytis. Controlling the temperature and storing in a clean environment preserves blooms.

Once cut flowers reach their destination, it is advisable to cut the stems before putting them in water. The initial wound created during harvesting starts healing immediately. This minimises the stem’s ability to absorb water. The wound also promotes the growth of micro-organisms which contaminate the vase water. Cutting the stem removes any contamination and allows the flower to absorb water and flower food effectively. Always use a sharp tool and remove at least 5cm of the stem.

Displaying your blooms

A glass vase is the best vessel for displaying cut flowers. Using the wrong container could reduce your flowers vase life. Always clean your vase before use. Dust and bacteria can build up during storage, which will contaminate the water. A good scrub and a rinse should do the trick – Chrysal has some great cleaning products for vases. Fill your vase with fresh, clean water before placing your bouquet. Never use old water, the contaminants will affect your flowers.


Chrysal’s flower food

Feeding cut flowers

Feeding cut flowers is essential for natural flower development. You want your bouquets to bloom as if they were still attached to the mother plant. For cut flowers to reach their full potential, they need nourishment through every stage of distribution. Nourishment comes in the form of Chrysal flower food, dissolved in the vase water. Chrysal’s flower foods have been specially developed to provide cut flowers with every nutrient they need for optimum vase life. The food also helps regulate the vase water, keeping it clean from contamination.

Chrysal provides formulated plant foods for every stage of your cut flower’s life. Providing your flowers these valuable nutrients will help bouquets reach their maximum lifespan. Ensure your displays bloom with life with Chrysal. We stock a variety of Chrysal products. Visit Hadeco’s online shop to find the plant food for you.

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Tulips: A winter joy in South Africa

“Forcing” is the term used to describe the way tulips are manipulated into flowering in winter despite being spring blooms. In our country where the climate tends towards being tropical with sweltering tendencies in midsummer, tulip bulbs are stored in an artificially cooled environment at a steady 5 degrees. Mimicking the European cold means they’re tricked into believing it’s spring when they’re removed from their 5-degree environment and brought to the warmer temperatures offered by our mild winters.

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A year in bloom: Great garden resolutions for 2018

A new year brings new goals and dreams and plenty of opportunities to plant new bulbs. January is the perfect month to set your gardening goals and plan your horticultural calendar. Ensure your garden is in full bloom all year round. Forgo the traditional self-improvement promises and set yourself the task of bettering your garden. These 2018 garden resolutions will keep your flower beds blooming.

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Pokon – Caring for your succulents

Pokon is a well-known company in the horticultural world. Their useful range of products offers a variety of plant care options, from potting soils to fertilisers. Pokon has been a part of the gardening scene since 1929 and is continually perfecting their winning formula. They develop carefully balanced plant foods for a variety of different plant species, designed to provide the plant with the correct nourishment to maximise healthy growth.

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Winter Bulbs – Colour me cool

While South Africa is heading into the hottest months of the year, January and February, the reminder that winter is around the corner lies in the fact that it is already time to start planning your winter garden and acquiring the winter bulbs you wish to enjoy during the cold months. With this fantastic range of blooms, there is no need to lack for anything at all in terms of colour in the garden. Be sure to sketch and plan what you have envisioned for the season ahead of purchasing.

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Amaryllis: The Garden’s Gift

Amaryllis, known as the Christmas flower, can be planted to flower almost exactly as desired. This is because they typically bloom around 5 weeks after being planted (during the warmer months). For this reason, Amaryllis make a wonderful gift at Christmas time. They can also make effective centrepieces for the Christmas dinner table.

South Africa grows some of the best Amaryllis in the world. Our warmer climate allows for effective growth outdoors in the garden. For an effective, eye-catching outdoor ensemble, group them together in threes. Give them a position that allows them to be the centre of attention, they most definitely rise to occasion superbly.

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