Plant Bulbs Now for Spring Blooms

Time spent in the garden now results in a riot of spring blooms!

By FamilyTime


Set time aside this weekend or next to plant bulbs. The daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, and crocuses you plant now will greet you with their happy spring colors just when you want them most. Nothing welcomes the good weather more happily!

You don’t need a formal garden bed for bulbs. They can be planted at the edge of a lawn, among shrubbery, in with ground cover, on a hillside, or around a tree.

Bulbs need time to develop a root system before the first deep, hard frost. They then need a winter to lie dormant. They also need good drainage.

Buy Healthy Bulbs
No bulbs are expensive, but it pays to spend a little more for premium specimens. These are more likely to be accurately labeled and healthier than others. You will have most success with bulbs you buy from a reputable nursery or reliable mail-order catalog. Don’t be tempted by cut-rate bulbs sold at the supermarket or discount outlet.

Big bulbs produce the best blooms, so go for size. Avoid old bulbs or any that are wrinkled, cracked, or show signs of rot or mold. Discard bulbs that have started to sprout.

Plant Bulbs Right
Small bulb varieties require shallower holes than larger bulbs. Tall-growing bulbs, such as some varieties of daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths, do best planted at least six inches below the surface; if you can dig down 10 or 12 inches, you will have even better luck. Use a bulb digger -- these handy tools make the job easier and faster than relying on a spade or trowel.

Fertilize when you plant the bulbs. This helps them take hold. While they will bloom without fertilizer, they won’t be as strong in subsequent years.

If you are planting a cluster of bulbs, dig a bed for them. Work some fertilizer into the soil: manure compost and bone meal or a commercially produced bulb fertilizer. Plant the bulbs, pointed side up, and then carefully cover them with soil. Cover the bed with bark or leaf mulch.

You can also dig individual holes for bulbs just about anywhere. Combine the extracted soil with compost or another fertilizer. Scatter some compost in the hole below the root level of the bulb. Put several bulbs in the hole. 

Water the bulbs well after planting them.

The Right Bulb for the Season
If you plan right, your bulbs will flower from late winter through early summer.

  • Snowdrops; snow crocuses: flower in late winter/early spring
  • Early daffodil; hyacinth; botanical tulip; scilla: flower in early spring
  • Grape hyacinth; daffodil: flower in mid spring
  • Anemone; allium; late tulip; Dutch iris: flower in late spring
  • Large allium: flowers in early summer
  • There are bulbs for every taste and springtime month. Choose those you like most and plant them in profusion.If you are feeling ambitious, plan the garden so that there is always a blooming spring flower just as a previous one is losing its punch.

    We may not have had the first frost or a single snowflake, but it's not too early to plan for spring's glory!