Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Arlene's Tips on Growing Tulips and Fall Bulbs

Spring bulbs must be planted in the fall. In our climate, we can plant bulbs from September through December as long as the ground can still be worked. Over the years I have planted spring bulbs as late as mid December. One secret is to prepare the hole where you would like to plant the bulbs. Take in the soil you remove from the hole to use when planting. Cover the hole with a board or cardboard box and mark the spot so as when we get snow, you are still able to identify the spot. Plant your bulbs when you are able using the warm soil and water them in. Use a bulb booster or bone meal when planting. Following are some of my tips:

1. Choose healthy, unblemished bulbs that are hardy to our area, Zone 3.
2. Soak your bulbs in Plantskyd to avoid having them dug up by squirrels.
3. Also, squirrels, rabbits and deer don’t like Daffodils so they are always nice to plant in with tulips to deter the critters.
4. Break up the soil before planting. This is the time to amend your soil with peat moss or compost and a bit of sand.
5. Make sure you plant the bulbs with the pointed end up. If you are unsure of which is the right end, plant the bulb on its side and it will find its own way.
6. The general rule of thumb for planting is to plant the bulb two to three times as deep as the bulb is tall. In our zone you can add a few more centimeters in depth. Read the packaging for information on how far apart to plant that type of bulb.
7. Bulbs like it dry so avoid planting them in wet spots. Add sand to the bottom of the hole for good drainage.
8. When planting, group bulbs of the same colour and type together for a “Wow”! You might try planting some taller tulips near the back with some daffodils; some grape hyacinths in front bounded by a bed of crocus Let your imagination go wild! Make sure you plant some in a spot that you can enjoy looking out a kitchen or living room window. Avoid planting tulips in a straight line if you’re planting a border. Plant them in a triangle all the way along and they will look much fuller when they bloom. Try planting some bulbs you’ve never planted before, or try planting some in the lawn or around trees or shrubs. Snowdrops, Crocus and Grape Hyacinths are great bulbs to plant in the lawn.
9. Consider the bloom time and you will be able to create waves of colour in your garden for many months.
10. After the bulbs bloom in the spring, let the stems and leaves die back naturally and brown before you remove them. The stem and leaves replenish the bulb for next year’s bloom. To encourage more blooms for next year, apply fertilizer as the shoots emerge from the soil and again immediately after flowering.
11. Plant the bulbs behind or near perennials that will grow and hide the stem and leaves as they are browning.

Arlene Ortiz (Wheeler)
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 11:43 AM 0 Comments