Wonderful World of Bulbs

Spring is a wonderful time of year when the snows are leaving, but if you haven’t planted any spring blooming flowers, it can be a bleak landscape until the first annuals appear in the garden center or the first perennials burst into bloom.  Bulbs of spring blooming flowers need to be planted sometime between now and when the ground freezes.

Bulbs

Bulbs of crocus, daffodil, hyacinth, tulip, and other fall planted bulbs need to be purchased and planted now if you want to see them next spring. Planting a few bulbs here and there won’t make much of an impact, so think about planting in drifts (50+ of one variety or color all together in a clump or rows) for maximum color display.  The leaves aren’t cut back until they turn brown as they produce energy for the bulbs to grow again next year.

Characteristics

Most of these varieties of spring flowers naturalize (spread by adding baby bulbs to the main one and multiplying, so give them plenty of room to grow. The leaves should not be cut back until they turn brown as they produce energy for the bulbs to grow again next year.

Planting and Care

Plant bulbs with the flat end down and the pointed end up.  Follow package recommendations for depth and spacing and factor in how many inches of mulch are on top of the soil.  Most bulbs will need protection form ground rodents and squirrels who think bulbs are their dessert.  Plant your bulbs in a wire cage, or put a barrier on top of soil and under mulch.  A barrier of hardware cloth with ½ inch openings staked down works fine, or you can also use staked chicken wire for larger bulbs.  Squirrels can pull small bulbs out of holes in chicken wire.

Dig planting holes with a bulb planter, a drill bit made for digging holes, or dig a large area, place all the bulbs in it, then cover it up.  A trench also works for planting drifts.  Plant bulbs behind or between perennials so their foliage will be covered up after bloom is done.