Now is the time to get those Spring flowering bulbs in the ground to have beautiful bursts of color after a long cold Winter. It’s really quite simple to do and the payoff can be big big color! As with any garden planting you do, proper soil conditions and amendments are key. I love seeing the big, bold, beautiful Daffodils- to me that’s a sure sign that the weather I love will be here soon! So, here are the steps to take to have a beautiful re-awakening after a dreary Winter:
Choose healthy bulbs. Avoid bulbs that are dry and withered, spongy or moldy. In general, the larger the bulb for its type, the more flowers.
Choose an appropriate location. Most flowering bulbs prefer full sun, but that can be almost anywhere in the spring, before the trees leaf out. So don’t overlook a spot that seems perfect, just because it’s a bit shady in the fall. Woodland bulbs; Woodland Anemone, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Dog’s Tooth Violets, and Snowdrops prefer a bit of cool shade.
A well-drained soil will prevent the bulbs from rotting in cool weather. (This is usually my biggest mistake)
In areas such as ours, with cold winters, you can plant bulbs as long as the soil is soft enough to dig a hole, the sooner you plant, the longer they have to start growing their roots before the ground freezes.
Plant with the pointed side up. The pointed end is the stem. You may even be able to see some shriveled roots on the flatter side. If you really can’t tell, don’t worry about it. The stem will find it’s own way, sooner or later.
Plant bulbs to a depth of about 3 times their diameter. For Daffodils, that’s about 6 – 8 inches. Smaller bulbs can be planted to a depth of 3-4 inches and so on.
Mix some bone meal into the soil at the bottom of the hole at planting time, to encourage strong root growth. You could mix in some water soluble fertilizer as well, but it’s not necessary if you’ve already amended your soil.
If rodents tend to eat your bulbs, you can try sprinkling some red pepper in the planting hole. A more secure method is to plant your bulbs in a cage made of hardware cloth and cover with chicken wire if you have dogs that dig. The roots and stems grow through, but the rodents can’t get to the bulbs. Make it easy on yourself and make a cage large enough to plant at least a dozen bulbs. Or you can make it really easy on yourself and stick to daffodils, which rodents and most other animals avoid.
Replace the soil on top of the bulbs. Water the bulbs after planting, to help them settle in and close any air pockets. Through the fall and winter, you only need to worry about watering your bulbs if you’re having a particularly dry season. So, go forth, plant your bulbs and enjoy! and as always….we welcome your questions and comments~