If you are asking yourself the question, “When should I plant flower bulbs,” the answer is that now, in the fall of the year, is the perfect time. Why would you plant them now, when they will have a whole season of cold weather to go through? The answer is twofold: they can take advantage of the period before freezing to put down some roots to grow strong, and secondly they have a harder time starting out with the heat and drought of summer than the cold of winter. Carol Stocker writes an article for those of us beginning gardeners who are asking questions like, “When should I plant flower bulbs,” an easy answer for her but not so easy for us newbies. Carol has a few tips for us beginners, and even for those of us who have a little more knowledge.
If you are a beginning gardener, start by planting some ornamental bulbs. These will become the easiest and earliest flowers in your 2013 garden. That’s because bulbs are like little suitcases that have their flowers already packed inside (in embryonic form), so they are guaranteed to produce it least one flower next spring. Whether or not bulbs flower in successive years depends upon the type of bulb you choose and and where you plant it. An ideal location is next to a south-facing house foundation at the top of a slope. The house protects the plants from winds, the foundation radiates heat for an early spring start and the slope promotes good drainage longevity. Or plant where you will be able to see the flowers from indoor windows, as they will bloom when it is still cold out.
Carol has some suggestions of what kinds of bulbs to plant, most of which will return year after year. I have several varieties of daffodils in my yard, and they do come up beautifully year after year. Carol suggests crocus, daffodil and ornamental lily, the latter only if the red leaf lily beetle hasn’t arrived in your locale. She provides a good piece of advice about tulips, beautiful though they are. Carol says that they don’r do well after the first year and deer love them, often eating the buds and leaving flowerless stems to grow. I’ve been disappointed by tulips as well in that their blooms don’t seem to last very long. Usually a good rain, which is not uncommon in the spring, will wipe out the flowering part of the plant. Carol tells the reader how to plant bulbs in her article.
Plant bulbs with the pointy ends up. You can dig an individual hole for each bulbs. But unless you are dotting them around an already packed perennial bed, it is much easier and looks better if you plant bulbs in a cluster in of five or more in one big hole per grouping. The planting hole should be three times as deep as the width of the bulbs. You can space the bulbs twice their width apart. So smaller bulbs can be planted more shallowly and closely together than larger bulbs.
Carol says that she layers several kinds of bulbs of different sizes in the same hole. That’s an idea I’ve never heard of before, but I’m guessing the result is eye-catching. Carol also reminds the reader that bulbs are forgiving, even if you plant them at depths that are not quite ideal. So if you’re asking when should I plant flower bulbs, the answer seems to be now, even into early November. For some tips on how to get the job done, read Carol’s article by clicking here or on the link below. Let us know what are your favorite bulbs to plant, and LIKE us on Facebook.