After the gray, dreary days of winter, a dazzling display of
springtime bulbs is a joy to treasure.
However, if you want tulips, daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths or
other bulbs to bloom in your garden in spring, you must plant them in
must have sufficient time to establish a root system, and they also need
to experience a chilling period. As
a result, they won’t produce flowers until the following year if you
plant them in late winter or early spring.
(Note: As commonly used, the word “bulb” refers to true
bulbs, corms, tubers and rhizomes and is used that way here.)
a good idea to survey your yard before heading off to purchase bulbs.
It is essential that the sites you select for the bulbs have good
drainage. Bulbs will rot in
soggy soil. Most bulbs
perform best is a sunny location. Because
deciduous trees and shrubs won’t have leaves when the bulbs come into
bloom, shade from them won’t be a problem.
you need to decide what bulbs you want to plant in each locale.
For a succession of color, plant bulbs that bloom at different
times in spring: early spring, mid spring and late spring.
Labels and catalogs provide this information.
For visual impact use plenty of bulbs in each area that you
plant. Ten bulbs is a
suggested minimum. Some
gardeners prefer to use only one type of bulb and only one color in each
area; for example, only pink tulips.
Others prefer to use one type of bulb planted in bands of color,
such as a band of red tulips beside a band of yellow tulips. Another approach that is effective in small pockets and
containers is to create a mixed bouquet of different kinds and/or colors
of bulbs. For example, you
could plant a group of tulips that are various shades of purple,
lavender, pink and white together.
While planning, you should also estimate approximately how many
bulbs of each type you want.
the best selection, buy bulbs as soon as they become available at garden
centers or home improvement stores in late August or early September. Plump, healthy-looking bulbs that are the largest of their
type will produce the best blooms.
Avoid bulbs that are moldy or ones that have soft or bruised
spots, or other blemishes.
should plant the bulbs in late September or early October after the soil
temperature has cooled. If
planted too early, the bulbs may begin to sprout right away.
On the other hand, you need to plant them early enough so
they’ll have time to establish a good root system before the ground
the bulbs at the proper depth is vital.
In Colorado, roller coaster ups and downs in temperature create
freeze/thaw cycles that can damage bulbs that aren’t planted deep
enough. Warm days in winter
prompt shallow-planted bulbs to sprout and bloom too early, making them
susceptible to damage from spring’s heavy snows.
To avoid these problems, pick up the planting instructions for
the bulbs you select so you’ll know how deep to plant them.
are two methods used to plant bulbs.
One method is to excavate the flowerbed to the correct planting
depth for the bulbs being planted.
Spread a layer of compost or other organic matter over the bed.
Also add super phosphate or a fertilizer for bulbs.
Thoroughly till the soil amendment and fertilizer into the soil
where the roots will be growing. This
will improve drainage, improve the soil’s texture, and stimulate root
development. Position the
bulbs, with the pointed end up, in the area as desired.
Amend the soil that was excavated with compost and then fill in
the flowerbed. The other
method is to use a tool to dig a hole.
Several types of tools for digging the holes are on the market.
Loosen up the soil at the bottom of the hole, add a bit of
compost and bulb fertilizer, and mix them into the loosened soil. Place the bulb, pointed end up, in the hole.
Mix some compost with the soil from the hole and then fill it.
As soon as the bulbs have been planted water them thoroughly.
planted, the bulbs require little care.
Water the beds occasionally in fall and winter if there is little
or no rain or snow for several weeks.
When the ground has frozen, the bulb beds should be covered with
a 3” thick layer of mulch to help maintain a more constant
temperature. In spring, cut
off dead flowers so they don’t waste energy forming seeds.
If you want the bulbs to produce flowers again the following
year, do not cut off the leaves until they are completely dead.
This can be very tempting because the plants do look tacky as the
leaves yellow and die. Because
the leaves produce food that is stored in the bulb for the next
season’s growth you need to let them complete this process.
You can plant leafy annuals or perennials in the beds to
camouflage the unsightly foliage.
crocuses and other bulbs will spread and bloom for several years.
While laboring to plant them in fall, keep in mind that in the
coming years your labor will be repeatedly rewarded.
Your springtime garden will be a delight.