There are 3 major tips you need to know before planting flowering bulbs; soil type, depth and width of holes and where. Here is the how-to.
It may come as a shock to you, but this is my first bulb planting rodeo. I’ve never personally been to this show before, but have always wanted to attend. We do have annual flowers that rise up in the springtime that have been here since we moved in, but it’s time we have more. Time to get on the horse.
Before I start any project, I do my research. I read up on as much info as I can, so I have some sort of clue as to what I’m doing. Planting bulbs is no different. From friend’s advice to lots on online articles, here are some valuable tips that I learned.
Plant Bulbs In The Fall
Why is it necessary to plant bulbs in the fall? In this case, I’m talking all about tulip bulbs. Like daffodils, these bulbs must be planted in the fall because they require a long period of cold temperatures to spark the process that makes them flower. It’s very important to plant bulbs before the first frost, but it’s also important not to plant them too soon. If you do plant them too early, they could rot because of over-saturated soil. If this happens, your bulbs are done. They will not flower. My recommendation to you is to find out what planting zone you live in, and read up on when the first frost typically takes place in your zone.
Flowering Bulbs Like Well-Drained Soil
When planting bulbs, the soil must be well-draining, slightly acidic and dry or sandy. Dense soil like clays are not good for flowering bulbs because it doesn’t give the plant’s roots room to grow. If you do have dense soil, mix in a sandy mixture. Organic mixture like compost is also recommended and will help produce gorgeous, healthy plants.
When planting bulbs, dig holes 7-8 inches deep, and space them 4-6 inches apart. If you plant bulbs too close to the soils surface, it will expose them to damaging weather spiking, and this will most likely kill the bulbs. If you plant them too close together, the root system could end up strangling each other, or cause the plants to dehydrate and starve.
I use a bulb planter tool to help me plant, and to position the layout. It’s a great garden tool to have and it is basically the same size as a medium size bulb. Simply stick the spike in the ground and wiggle around, digging deeper until you have an 8″ hole. However, if you have a bigger bulb, plant a little deeper than 8 inches. This tool makes planting bulbs much easier. Remember, plant the bulbs with the pointy end up. This is paramount!
You can plant flowering bulbs in partial shade, however once the flowers bloom, they do prefer full sunlight for the better part of the day.
Protecting The Bulbs Once Planted
Once the bulbs are planted and covered with soil, you’ll need to protect the surface. I went with my friend Liselotte’s recommendation of spreading dry, crumbled leaves over top,and then I’ll add a layer of straw.This is an added protection of the winter elements, and will keep the bulbs from getting saturated from winter rains and snow.
Can Bulbs Be Planted In Containers?
Yes! Yes they can. In fact, tulips thrive in containers as well, but you’ll need to ensure a couple extra safety steps when planting in containers. I planted tulip bulbs in a deep bird bath, and two concrete containers flanking our front door.
Follow the steps above for soil type, depth and width. You’ll want to make sure you have a container that is deep enough for the bulbs to be planted. Although it doesn’t look so in the photo, the birdbath is 14 inches deep, which makes it a good container to plant.
For my containers, I have taken the extra step and added wire grating over top, to keep the squirrels and other pests from digging up the bulbs. To make sure the containers are safe from harsh winter elements, make sure they are stored beside the wall of a house.
Now all you need to do is sit and wait for spring. Planting flowering bulbs is much like planting shallots. In case you missed that how-to, here is where you can find how to plant shallots.
A little fall effort for a beautiful spring reward. Follow these tips and you’ll have gorgeous flowers come springtime.
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