Spring brings the welcome sight of flowering bulbs after a long and cold winter, starting with early snowdrops and crocus, then daffodils, and last but not least, tulips. Most varieties will be perennial, and many multiply in number yearly. Their successful showing next spring depends on the steps you take now in planning, planting, and care for your bulbs. So if you’re looking forward to beautiful blooms this winter and spring, here’s what you need to know.
While bulbs are commonly planted in formal beds, borders, or containers, many work well in naturalized plantings. Plan to create some naturalized areas in your landscape in the following ways:
Randomly scatter crocuses, daffodils, grape hyacinths, snowdrops, and snowflakes, and plant them where they fall. They look better when planted in clumps or drifts, so you may need to move them around a bit.
Plant spring-flowering bulbs along the edges of woodland areas or beneath the canopies of deciduous trees. Keep in mind that they should receive plenty of sunlight and finish blooming before the trees leaf out.
Insert bulbs such as crocuses in your warm-season lawn. The crocuses will brighten up the lawn and be finished blooming before it’s time to mow next spring.
Now is a good time to plant spring-blooming bulbs. Remember that these bulbs require an extended cold period to bloom reliably. When bulbs don’t receive sufficient cold treatment, they produce flowers on shortened stems that are lower to the ground and often hidden by their leaves. So if you haven’t already done so, place your spring-blooming bulbs in an old refrigerator for several weeks of chill down before planting.
Follow suggested planting depths when placing your bulbs. The general rule is this: plant bulbs at a depth equal to three times the height of the bulb. Be sure to use a time-release bulb fertilizer at planting time.
*helpful hint* – some bulbs naturally resist attack by squirrels, chipmunks, and voles, but many make tasty winter-time snacks for hungry animals. We suggest dipping your bulbs in I Must Garden’s Squirrel Repellant before planting. For already established plantings, spray or dust formulas are available for surface treatment.
Care for Your bulbs
Fertilize new and established beds with a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer. Don’t wait until spring, because the bulbs are producing roots and foraging for nutrients now. Keep in mind that naturalized bulbs need to be fertilized on an annual basis to encourage perennialization.
Summer bulbs which could be killed by winter freezes should be lifted, dried, and stored. Cannas, dahlias, gladioli, caladium, and tuberous begonias should be removed after their foliage is killed by frost. Because they won’t survive the winter outdoors, they need to be cleansed of soil and stored indoors in a cool but frost-free location.
Mulch plantings with compost, pine straw, or hardwood mulch to protect tender and semi-hardy bulbs from the winter cold.
And finally, clean up and remove old, dried iris leaves, stems, and other debris to help eliminate overwintering eggs from nasty pests or iris borers.
As always, our friendly staff is available 7 days a week to answer all your spring-blooming bulb or any gardening questions you may have. And we have a fabulous selection of bulbs to choose from, from all your classic favorites to more unusual and unique offerings. Stop by and let us help you create the garden of your dreams.