Planting Bulbs for Spring
While you’re probably thinking about fall decorating, you should also be planning for your spring flowering bulbs.
Mid-September through October is the best time to plant them in our area. A good rule of thumb for planting spring bulbs is to have them planted 6 weeks before the ground freezes and nighttime temperatures are around 40-50 degrees.
Most bulbs require full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun per day) to do their best flowering. However, there are plenty of varieties that will take some shade. Be sure to know what type of sunlight the bulbs you are planting like best so you have the most successful blooms in spring.
Plant bulbs approximately 1.5-2 times deeper than the height of the bulb. For example, if you have a bulb that is 2 inches tall, you would want to dig a hole 3-4 inches deep. When planting the bulbs, make sure the “pointy” side is up and the end where the roots come out is facing down. This will ensure the bulbs grow in the right direction as not all bulbs will “self-correct” once planted.
Using a good quality compost is essential when planting bulbs, especially if your soil is more clay-like. Add a small amount to your planting hole to help ensure good blooming in spring. Topping with a layer of mulch will also prevent pesky weeds from popping up and will allow your bulbs some protection from unwanted critters like squirrels who love to dig up freshly planted bulbs!
Watering bulbs after planting is also essential. They are plants too after all! A good dose of watering will allow the bulbs to produce roots and establish before the winter freeze. It also helps to reduce any air pockets that may be surrounding the bulbs that could cause them to dry out.
A few design ideas for spring bulbs:
*Planting bulbs in groups allows for a greater impact in your landscape. Try adding groups of 30 or more bulbs for an instant wow factor come spring!
*Instead of planting in lines, try something irregular for a less formal look. And while most bulbs offer suggested plant spacing between them, it’s ok to plant them closer together for a more naturalized look.
*Try planting some early spring bloomers in your yard for a fun new naturalized look! Bulbs such as Scilla siberica, snow crocus and snowdrops will bloom before your yard needs to be mowed for the first time.
*Planting bulbs in containers is a fun way to add early spring color and they do just as well as if they were planted in the ground. You will need to put the pots in a cold protected area like a garage for winter storage though.