Gardening 101

Tips for Planting Bulbs

Tips for Planting Bulbs

Fall is the time to think spring if you want a garden full of spring flowers next year.  The ideal time to plant bulbs in the Triangle is October through December.  Bulbs require time in the ground to develop roots and need the chill of winter. Wait until the soil temperature is below 60°F before planting.Hyacinth

1. Survey your landscape. Pick bulbs that will work best in your environment. Most require 6-12 hours of sunlight. Remember, what is shady now might be in full sun in the spring.

2. Bulbs don’t like “wet feet.” Make sure the area drains well. Amend clay soil with compost or peat moss to make it more porous.

3. Start planting.  Pick bulbs free of mold. The general rule is to plant a bulb twice as deep as it is tall. Place the bulb in the soil with the pointy end up. Add bone meal or a bulb booster to the hole and again in the spring when the shoots break ground.  Mulch and keep the bulbs watered, but not wet.

4. Go for impact. Plant in clusters for an eye-catching display or try layering bulbs with the “lasagna” method.  Plant larger bulbs (tulips, daffodils) first followed by smaller bulbs (crocus, hyacinths) in the same spot.  Bulbs don’t mind being planted one over another. They will flower as usual and give you non-stop blooms for weeks at a time.

5. Bulbs are food to many of our wildlife. To keep animals from digging up the bulbs, try covering the planted area with heavy wire mesh screening before adding mulch. Deer tend to stay away from daffodils, but love tulips and other spring bloomers.