Last week, I told you about fall being the time to plant tulip, daffodil, hyacinth, crocus and other spring flowering bulbs. I told you that I would tell you how to plant them and how to get a great show in the spring for a reasonably small amount of money.
The spring flowering bulbs are planted at various depths. Tulip and daffodil bulbs are planted about 6 inches deep. Crocuses and other smaller-size bulbs are planted about 4 inches deep.
Many people will dig a single hole and drop in one bulb. This isn’t really the best use of time and also not the best way to get a nice show of color.
To get the best show of color, you should make a hole 12 inches wide and to the appropriate depth for the bulb you are planting. The packaging of the bulb will tell you how deep to go.
Let’s say that you are going to plant tulips. You would make a hole 12 inches wide and 6 inches deep. You should add some bulb fertilizer to the bottom of the hole. You will be using about 1 tablespoon of fertilizer for each bulb you are planting. Mix the fertilizer into the soil at the bottom of the hole, and then lightly pat down the soil.
You will be placing six evenly spaced bulbs in the bottom of the hole. The pointed end of the bulb will be facing up. Cover the bulbs with soil, and lightly press the soil down.
We have had a very dry late summer, so it will be beneficial for you to water the soil. The bulbs will need a moist soil to allow them to develop a root system. If we don’t get rain, you probably should water the spot where you planted the bulbs right up until the ground freezes.
If you are planting crocuses or other small bulbs, dig a hole 12 inches wide and 4 inches deep. Add 1 teaspoon of fertilizer per bulb, and mix the fertilizer into the soil at the bottom of the hole. Pat down the soil at the bottom of the hole. You should arrange 10 bulbs at the bottom of the hole, pointed end up. Cover the bulbs with soil, and water the soil.
The reason you are planting the bulbs this way is because when the bulbs bloom, it will be an eye-catching display of flowers. If you had planted just one bulb, your eye would not see such a small display of a single flower. By planting the bulbs in clusters, you can space the planting 2 or 3 feet apart and still have a great-looking display of spring flowers.
Tulip bulbs have many varieties. Different varieties will flower at different times. The flower time is listed on the package as either early, midseason or late-flowering varieties.
Here is a little hack that you can try. Buy a package of early red flowering tulips. Buy a package of red midseason flowering tulips, and buy a package of red late-blooming tulips.
When you go to plant the bulbs, place two of each variety in the hole. Come the spring, as the early variety goes by flower, the midseason will be coming into flower. As the midseason goes by flower, the late variety will be coming into flower. This will give you the appearance that your tulip flowers have lasted months.
When you are using fertilizer at planting time, please don’t use bone meal or a fertilizer containing bone meal. Squirrels will smell the bone meal, and they will dig up your bulbs. They will haul away the tulip and crocus bulbs as food for the winter. Since daffodil and hyacinth bulbs are toxic to rodents, they will just leave those ones scattered around the yard.
Squirrels will also dig up freshly turned-over soil at this time of the year. They are looking for food that other animals may have buried. If you apply a layer of mulch on top of the soil, the squirrels are less likely to dig up your bulbs.
The bulb industry has come up with a slogan for planting spring flowering bulbs. The slogan is “Dig, Drop, Done.” In a nutshell, planting spring flowering bulbs is almost that easy.
Take some time this fall to plant some spring flowering bulbs. Once winter is over and you see beautiful flowers come into bloom in the spring, you will be glad you did.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.
Tim Lamprey has worked in the lawn and garden industry for 45 years.