Planting Spring Bulbs

Planting  Spring  bulbs

Fall is the ideal time to plant spring blooming bulbs. They can be planted as late as November-December before the ground freezes. Temperatures 35-50F degrees for 8-12 weeks will give them time to develop a good root system. tulips

Here is a quick planting guide

-When buying bulbs, check for quality. Be sure they are firm without soft spots or white mold.

-Bulbs need a light, well-drained soil or they will rot. For heavy, clay soil, incorporate organic materials such as peat moss or compost to improve drainage.

-They do not require fertilizer but will perform better when fed. Work up the soil and add bulb booster or a 5-10-10 fertilizer for vigorous future growth. The bulb should have no contact with the fertilizer, as it will burn developing roots. You can put bone meal in the bottom of the hole. Once planted, sprinkle bulb fertilizer on top of the backfilled soil in the fall or spring. If you don’t fertilize at this time, the best time is right after bloom (12-12-12 or 5-10-5).
Mulch planted bulbs after the ground freezes to protect from freezing/thawing cycle and remove in the spring.

Planting depth

 A general rule for tulips and daffodils is 3 times the diameter of the bulb. Cover small bulbs such as scillas, grape hyacinths, snowdrops with 2 inches of soil and large bulbs 6-8 inches. Other bulbs may vary a bit. Check package directions. In warmer climates bulbs can be planted 2 inches shallower.

-Plant pointed tip up, if not sure plant the bulb on its side, it will find its way up. daffodils in bloom

Protect from animals

If you have problems rabbits, squirrels or chipmunks digging up your bulbs, here’s what you can do.

When planting cover the bulbs with half the soil, then cover place chicken wire and fill in with the remaining soil (at least 1 inch). The chicken wire will keep the critters from digging up the bulbs.

Plant less desirable bulbs such as allium, camassia, chionodoxa forbesii ‘Pink Giant’, colchicum ‘Waterlily’, eranthis (winter aconite), fritilaria, galanthus nivalis(snowdrops) muscari (grape hyacinths) and scilla siberica, which aren’t as tasty.  Animals won’t bother daffodils or hyacinths, as they don’t taste good and are poisonous.