Spring Flowering Bulbs
Nothing says “Spring is here” to me more than tulips and daffodils! After a long, cold, dreary winter they are so welcome, cheery, and colorful – a feast for the eyes and soul. Now’s the time to plan and plant bulbs for a late winter through early summer display. Mail order houses offer a wonderful selection of tulips and daffodils with a variety of bloom times, and sizes from petite dwarf types to tall & regal giants.
Spring Flowering Bulb Recommendations
I recommend planting hardy, perennial types of spring flowering bulbs. Perennial tulips & daffodils are special because, unlike many hybrids, they come back reliably year after year. Since they stay in place for years, take some time when planning where they will be planted and when preparing the soil. Besides choosing a truly perennial variety, there are a few steps you can take to ensure a strong performance:
* Plant bulbs in well-drained soil. This will help naturalizing and cut down on the risk of disease and fungus. Setting water tends to rot the bulbs.
* Plant bulbs deep. Measuring from the base of the bulb, place the bulb about 6” inches deep (approx. two to three times its length as a guideline) with the pointed end upward. I always add some bone meal to the soil in the hole.
* Water after planting. This will ensure that your tulips develop a strong root system before going into winter dormancy.
* After the blossoms have peaked, remove the flower heads and allow the green foliage to die back and start to yellow. Cutting off the leaves when they are green deprives the bulbs of the energy needed for next year’s blooms.
* Fertilize in fall and spring with a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10. Water the area where the bulbs are planted well after applying fertilizer.
Gardeners can plant spring bulbs from mid-September through mid to late October in zone 5, any time before the soil is frozen. If purchased earlier, keep in a cool dry storage area.
Spring bulbs make the most impact when planted in masses. Don’t line them up like little soldiers. In the flower garden, plant groups of bulbs, at least 8 or 10 of one kind together for the prettiest display.
If you haven’t already done so, I recommend keeping a garden journal. Make a drawing of the bulb plantings as you are planting them – this will come in handy later. Indicate the kinds, colors, sizes, dates planted, and any other notes about the varieties while fresh in your mind.