Planting Spring Flowering Bulbs


Reprinted with Permission of the National Garden Board:

Plant Bulbs Now for Enjoyment and
Beauty Next Spring

Remember last spring when you spotted beautiful beds of spring tulips, daffodils and hyacinths blooming and you vowed to plant some in your yard? Well—now is the time to decide what you want and get those beauties planted.  While you are cleaning up your gardens and perennial beds, pop some flower bulbs in the ground. Yes, it takes a little extra time now but when those blooms greet you next spring you will be so glad that you did—and your neighbors will be too!

Some bulbs, like crocus and snowdrops, can bloom right through the snow. And early bloomers can be one of the first spring pollen sources for our pollinator friends.
The choice of bulbs is endless…For early blooms try varieties of crocus, hyacinths and be sure to add some snowdrops, which often bloom before the snow has even melted.  The never-ending varieties of daffodils and tulips have such a wide range of bloom times that you can enjoy them all spring if you do a little planning. Just read the description to choose early, mid and late blooming varieties. The height of the bulbs you choose is also a factor—if varieties have similar bloom times you want to be sure to plant taller ones in the back of the bed so the shorter ones can be seen and enjoyed also. And don’t forget all of the wonderful alliums that will add interest to your perennial beds when the daffodils and tulips are done for the season.

Let your imagination run wild—plant drifts or clusters of spring bulbs by your front door, around your mailbox, light post or other garden feature that you have in your yard. Interplant in your annual or perennial beds or around trees or shrubs. You get the most impact when planting bulbs in clusters of at least 5 to 25 for larger bulbs and 50 or more for smaller bulbs such as snowdrops or crocus. If you have an electric or cordless drill, using a bulb auger will make your bulb planting easy.

Tulips and daffodils are perfect interplantings for perennials like hostas and daylilies as they will bloom first, then as you allow the foliage to die back, the perennials grow up and around them to cover the dying foliage.
Location is very important…be sure to look at the amount of sunlight the bulbs will be receiving in the spring. Remember that even though an area under a deciduous tree may be shaded in the summer you will have a sunny spot in the spring before the leaves emerge, making those spots excellent for many spring bulbs. Good drainage is also an essential factor when choosing your location. If your soil has high clay content or is too sandy, add compost to improve growing conditions, working it to a depth of at least twelve inches. Yes, you could probably just pop the bulbs into the ground and they would grow fine the first year but if you want your investment to continue for years to come your additional care now will pay off many times in the future.

Be sure to plant your bulbs at the correct planting depth. This information is normally printed on the packages but if not–the rule of thumb is to plant them 2 ½ – 3 times the depth of the bulb. If your soil is sandy, plant a little deeper than recommended on the package. Fertilize with the Bulb Buddy bulb fertilizer to give the bulbs a good start and give your bulbs a good watering after planting.

If you have never planted bulbs before, start small. Once you see the lively color next spring we know you will be reaching for that bulb planter again next fall. And of course if you already have a large number of spring bulbs, you know there is always room for more! A few hours in the autumn air now will reward you with the show of beauty next spring that you promised yourself you would have. Enjoy!

Let’s Go Garden!

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