Flowering bulbs bursting with color are a sight unlike any other. And who knew they could be so incredibly easy – just dig, drop and you're done! Bulbs are a surprisingly simple way to beautify your life.
What's a Bulb?
A flower bulb is really a self-contained flower factory. Within this marvelous little package is nearly everything the flower needs to come to life! Split a tulip open, for instance, and you'll see its baby flower bud, leaves, roots, stem and food supply. All bulbs need from you is to be placed in the ground at the appropriate season of the year, given a liberal drink of water then left to work their magic. Simply "dig, drop, done" in one season then "delight" in the next.
Flower bulbs come in a seemingly limitless variety which makes them perfectly suitable for any garden design you can dream up. Planting just a few can easily provide beautiful color in your garden for several months. Daffodils are the first sign of spring and dahlias will bloom until frost hits the pumpkins. The three most important factors to keep in mind are color, of course, but also plant height and flowering period.
When to Plant
In general, there are two seasons for bulb planting:
Fall ~ After soil temperatures are below 50ºF/10ºC. These bulbs bloom the following spring and require the cold winter temperatures for development. But let's say winter arrives and your bulbs are still in their bag. Not to worry! Bulbs are pre-programmed to grow so even if you have to plant through snow, plant your bulbs!
Spring ~ After the danger of frost has passed (tender bulbs love soil that is at least 60ºF/15ºC). These bulbs bloom in summer/fall.
How to Plant: It really is as easy as "dig, drop, done."
Most bulbs thrive in either full or partial sun and in almost any location with good drainage. Avoid planting at the base of hills or under drainpipes where water collects and will rot the bulbs.
- Good soil preparation is the very first step. Make sure it is loose and porous to make the planting easier (and because good drainage is necessary for all types of bulbs). Adding peat moss to the soil is a good trick to improve drainage.
- The planting depth of bulbs depends on their size: a good rule of thumb is that the depth should be 3x the diameter of the bulb. However, planting depths vary by variety. For more specific planting depths, check the label on your bulb package.
- The spacing of the bulbs depends largely on the effect you are trying to achieve. For best results plant in clumps of large groups rather than in single rows.
- After loosening the soil gently press the bulbs (with pointed ends up) in the bed, cover them with the removed soil and tap it down slightly.
- Water thoroughly.