On Planting Bulbs

Everyone enjoys the beauty and esthetic that flowering bulbs lend to a landscape. When planting is as simple as “dig, plop and cover over,” there’s no end to the number of ways you can create a symphony of color in your garden!

How soon should you plant your bulbs after you buy them?
It’s best to get your bulbs in the ground as soon as possible once you get home from the store. If you have to delay planting, store your bulbs in a cool, dry place AND away from direct sunlight. You definitely don’t want to wait too long since bulbs need ample time in fall to develop their roots. So in the fall, dig and plop the bulbs approximately six weeks prior to hard ground frosts. You should be safe to enjoy spring blooms. Bulbs have one goal in their lifecycle and that’s to grow—so even if you dig and plop when the ground is chilled and hard, be sure to water (as long as it won’t freeze on contact) and bulbs should begin their root growth.

Can you plant flowering bulbs among your trees and shrubs?
Trees, shrubs and bulbs are all competing for nutrients in your soil, so flower bulbs planted in these locations need to be able to have adequate space to acquire their nutrients. To create staggered bloom times, it would be a terrific idea to choose early-flowering bulbs for these sites since they’ll blossom among your bare plants. A mixture of at least six varieties of naturalizing bulbs that bloom at different times is perfect here. Plant them in variously sized clusters in the lightest spots in a wooded area, or along the edge of a bare space. Rest assured, you’ll enjoy years of flowering that becomes increasingly prolific year-after-year.

Can you plant bulbs in any kind of garden … and in every type of soil?
So long as your soil drains well, your bulbs will thrive. Avoid planting them under drain spouts—especially where water collects or pools. Bulbs will rot in heavy, wet soil.

How deep should you plant flowering bulbs?
Generally speaking, we suggest you plant three times as deep as the bulb is long (measured from the base of the bulb). And typically eight inches deep for big bulbs such as daffodils and tulips and five inches for smaller bulbs like grape hyacinths and crocus. Plant (plop) in well-drained soil, cover over, water well and wait for the “show” in spring.

Should you fertilize your bulbs once they’re planted?
Bulbs naturally contain the nutrients they need to bloom their first year, however, a fertilizing program will keep plants healthy and ward off diseases and pests. Compost and/or bulb tone are two great organic fertilizers that improve the soil and ensure a good soil structure for bulbs. It’s good to use organic supplements to add nutritional balance. Check the label on your bulbs to see if fertilizing is appropriate for your bulbs and the best time of year to do it.

If the ground is dry, will your bulbs still take root?
Bulbs pack a punch. And even if the ground is dry, they instinctively find their way to push through. Just be sure to give your bulbs a dose of water from time-to-time.

Happy planting!

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