Monday, October 3, 2016

Planting Spring Flowering Bulbs


You’ll see them in early spring, often blooming through the snow. Early blooming crocus are a sure sign that spring is on its way. The crocus flowers are soon followed by daffodils, tulips and hyacinths, each bringing its own distinct color to your garden. The spring blooms you see are from hardy bulbs that were planted the fall before.  Planting bulbs is the best way to have a colorful spring garden and now is the time to plant them.
Bulbs available for planting now are hardy bulbs, which mean they are cold-tolerant.  They will survive our winter weather and bloom for many seasons to come.
When it’s time to select the bulbs you’re going to plant, there’s a lot to learn from the box the bulbs come in. Besides color, the box label shows bloom time and height. If you want a succession of spring color, choose early, mid and late blooming bulbs, of varying heights.

Bloom time is dependent on where you plant your bulbs and how deep you plant them. Bulbs planted near a fence or foundation are going to bloom sooner because the reflected heat warms the soil up. If your bulbs are coming up too early or you want to slow the bloom time, add 2" to 3" of mulch to the bed. To ensure spring blooms, there are a few things you’ll need to know.
Where you plant your bulbs is important. Bulbs need at least 6 hours of sunlight to bloom properly. You could plant early blooming crocus and tulips in a normally shady spot such as under a tree because crocus and early season tulips will have bloomed before the trees leaf out in the spring. An alternative would be to plant bulbs in pots and move the containers to the sunniest spot in your garden.
As with anything you plant, better soil equals better results, so take time to add amendments to the ground where your bulbs will be planted.
Good soil amendments include compost, coconut coir and peat moss.
You can use a spade or garden fork to prepare the ground.
Add some Dutch Bulb Food to the ground before you place your bulbs, so the roots will grow into the fertilizer. Augers and bulb planters are handy tools to have when
you're planting your bulbs. Once the site is prepared, place the bulb in the ground with
the pointed side up. With smaller bulbs it may be difficult to tell which side goes up. One side will generally be flatter than the other. Place the flat side down.
As a rule, plant the bulbs four times their height. A 2" tall bulb should be buried 8" deep. Cover the bulbs and mark the spot where they are planted. Water the site thoroughly. Check on your bulbs through the winter and water as necessary. For best color, plant bulbs in groups.
In addition to Daffodils, tulips and hyacinths don’t overlook specialty bulbs such as dwarf iris and Dutch iris, allium and muscari. Planted now, these hardy bulbs will bring color to your spring garden for many seasons to come.


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