Planting Bulbs for Spring Beauty

Planting Bulbs for Spring Beauty

Most people do not regret planting bulbs in during the cold days of Fall when they see their little tips pushing through the soil in the warm days of Spring.  But, many folks regret NOT planting them when they see the beauty bulbs can add to flower beds surrounding your home.

It takes a little extra work to plant Spring blooming bulbs in the Fall, but it is worth it.  Follow these hints and tips for ensure success:

  • Choose areas to plant bulbs that will have sunshine in the Springtime; that could mean an area that is shady in the Summer from leafy trees, but gets sun when the leaves are not yet on the trees.  These areas must have well draining soil as bulbs will rot in soil that is always wet.
  • Consider planting close to emerging, existing perennials so the blooming bulbs are the focus while the perennial is coming to size and then when the bulb is done blooming, the perennial will hide the decaying foliage. Once the bulb has bloomed, remove the bloom stem but leave the foliage to gather strength from the sun and nourish the bulb (for next year) under the soil. Each variety is different, but the time for this to occur is generally 4-6 weeks. When the foliage is yellow and unsightly AND, when tugged, it pulls away from the ground easily, it is fine to remove.
  • Plant in groupings – odd numbers are best.  Mix the groupings with different colours of the same bulb or tulips mixed with narcissus (daffodils) so the odour of the daff bulb extends to the tulip in the same hole and the pesky rodents stay away. 
  • Daffs are not eaten up by squirrels because the oxalic acid (not harmful to humans) deters them.  If you are having a big problem with squirrels, plant only daffodils/narcissus
  • When planting bulbs, keep your area clean of bulb debris (husks from the bulbs) and cover the planting area with leaves to disguise that it was a newly planted area – this trick will fool that squirrels
  • Squirrels will only dig as far as they can see peripherally, so plant bulbs a little deeper than the recommended 3X height of the bulb (with pointy end up).  At 6-7” down  (for tulips/daffs) a squirrel will abandon digging because it is not longer safe (from predators) for it to continue. 
  • After planting bulbs, water the area well and then wait and enjoy their beauty in the Spring.

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