Our fabulous assortment of spring-blooming bulbs just came in and I’ve already had a lot of questions.
Here is What You Need to Know
- Buy bulbs now for the best selection but hold off on planting most bulbs until October. The exceptions would be bearded iris rhizomes, fall-blooming crocus, lycoris and colchicum which should be planted right away and tulips which should be planted in November or after the first frost. To store them until time to plant, keep in a paper (never plastic) bag at average room temperature. You do not need to chill.
- All spring-blooming bulbs prefer well-draining soil. If you have heavy red clay, then mixing in a little compost to loosen it up would be good.
- Spring-blooming bulbs go dormant in the summer and don’t like wet feet so you’ll have best results if you don’t plant them where you put impatiens or plants that need a lot of water during summer.
- Yes, there are bulbs that will take some shade. Most of the earliest bloomers are great in areas under trees that lose their leaves over the winter because they’ll get all that early spring sun before the trees leaf out. Look for Crocus, Eranthis (winter aconite), Galanthus (snowdrops), and Dwarf Iris. Other bulbs that will take part shade: Narcissus (daffodils/jonquils), Bluebells (wood hyacinths), Muscari.
- How deep do you plant? Smaller bulbs like crocus, muscari, bluebells, etc. can go 4 inches deep; daffodils and hyacinths go 6 inches deep.
What About Tulips?
What about tulips? Ah, here’s where we need to remember that tulips have a few challenges here—first, they’re edible—deer and squirrels WILL eat them. Second, they hate wet feet during their summer dormancy. Third, they don’t like our hot summers. So what do we do? I’ve got the answers!
Plant tulips DEEP—10 to 12 inches. Yeah, that’s deep—but squirrels don’t dig that far down AND voles also tend to tunnel in the top six inches so they’ll usually miss them, too.
An added advantage to going deep is that once you plant the tulips, you can cover them with soil to the six-inch depth and plant daffodils in that layer. You can even cover the daffodils and tuck in a few crocus or muscari right on top. The tulips will come right on up between the daffs!
This gives you a bouquet right in one hole—and with those nice NON-edible daffodils mixed in with those tulips, the deer will skip right over them.
One Last Tidbit
Just so you’ll know: Narcissus is the botanical name; Daffodil is the CORRECT common name; Jonquil refers to a specific type of Narcissus—Narcissus Jonquilla. Southerners, in particular, mistakenly call all daffodils jonquils.
Come in now while the selection is great and let me help you fill your garden with beautiful spring color.