How to Plant Bulbs and Brighten Your Spring Garden

Connie McKinneyStarred Page By Connie McKinney, 17th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Gardening>Flowers

Digging in the dirt this fall can lead to a beautiful flower garden next spring. Learn how to plant bulbs and grow spring flowers.

Planting Spring Bulbs


Crocuses are the first plants to announce the arrival of spring. But if you did not plant the crocus bulbs properly, you may not see crocuses bloom in your garden. If you follow a few simple tips this fall, you will see crocuses and other spring flowers poke their heads out of the earth next spring.
October is a good month to plant bulbs. However, if the fall is a warm one with temperatures in the 60s during the day, wait until November to plant. If it's too warm, your bulbs will start growing and then won't come up next spring when they're supposed to. Plant after the first frost but before the ground freezes.
Look for the largest bulbs you can find. Daffodils are the biggest ones while crocuses are the smallest bulbs. Sometimes you see more than one bulb stuck together or a tiny, "baby" bulb growing on a larger one. This is a bonus. Just break them apart and plant both bulbs.
Some people order them from gardening catalogs. Others buy them from garden stores. I've tried both ways and have had good luck with both store-bought and catalog-bought bulbs.
If you don't plant the bulbs right away, store them in a cool, dry place such as a cellar. Otherwise, they may start growing like garlic does when it's exposed to too much light.

How to Plant Bulbs


Plant in a sunny or partially shaded area. Space the bulbs about three inches apart. Dig down to about one and a half to five times the bulbs' depth, according to the Old Farmers Almanac.
Sometimes it can be hard to judge how far down to dig. That's why I prefer to use a bulb planter, which automatically digs down to the perfect depth. Or you can use a trowel.
Put some fertilizer or mulch into the hole around the bulb before you cover it with dirt. Or rake some dry leaves around the area where you planted the bulbs. The leaves will make their own mulch.

How to Protect Bulbs


Look for deer-resistant bulbs. Any type of daffodil is naturally deer resistant and rodent resistant. Squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits don't like daffodil bulbs either.
Protect spring flowers against predators by planting a row of daffodils to "guard" the flowers. Deer and other predators will not eat daffodils although they enjoy munching on other flowers such as tulips. The daffodils will provide a line of protection for tulips, crocuses and hyacinths planted behind the daffodils.
Moth balls can also deter predators. Be sure to sprinkle the moth balls immediately after planting. Squirrels and chipmunks are attracted to freshly dug up dirt. If you add dry leaves, put the leaves down first and then put the mothballs on top of them.
If you live in an area where it snows, you may need to throw down more mothballs once the snow melts. Otherwise, the deer and other predators may eat your plants even if they have only just begun to poke their heads above the frozen earth.

How to Keep Bulbs Blooming


Once your spring flowers have finished blooming, leave them alone for a while. The flowers need time to transfer their energy back into the soil for next year. You'll know it's OK to remove the plants once you see a yellowish tinge.
Some people wait until the flowers have completely dried up. This is OK to do but you don't have to wait that long.
If you wait until the flowers have finished blooming to remove them, you can have your bulbs bloom indefinitely. Most experts say bulbs only last two or three years. However, I've planted bulbs ten years ago which still come up every spring.
When you are ready to remove them, cut the plants off with scissors or gently pull them out. Don't dislodge the bulb. If you do, just replant it.
If you follow this advice, you will have the prettiest flower garden in your neighborhood next spring. Then, you can look forward to your annual flower show year after year.

Here is an article I did on garden pests
Here is one on helping gardens with leaves
Here is one on growing roses

Attribution


This article used some information from the Old Farmers Almanac
This article was based on one I previously wrote for Yahoo Voices
This article was also based on my more than ten years experience of flower gardening.
I took the photos myself.

Tags

Bulb, Bulbs, Flower, Flower Garden, Flower Gardening, Flowers, Garden, Garden Flowers, Gardening, Gardens

Meet the author

author avatar Connie McKinney
I enjoy exercising, pets, and volunteering as well as writing about these topics and others.

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
18th Oct 2013 (#)

We had many bulbs planted but the deer eat the flowers in the spring so this year nothing even came up except for one grape hyacinth!

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author avatar Connie McKinney
18th Oct 2013 (#)

Sorry to hear that, Mark. Try the moth balls. They might keep the deer away for you.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
18th Oct 2013 (#)

Nice gardening tips as well advice, do you have a show on HGTV?

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
18th Oct 2013 (#)

That is so interesting about the daffodils protecting the other plants Connie ...I don't have a problem with deer where I live ,but I have friends who do .
God bless you
Stella ><

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
18th Oct 2013 (#)

lovely my favourite spring flowers, daffodils and tulips and crocuses and bluebells...thank you so much Connie and the pics are so beautful

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author avatar Connie McKinney
18th Oct 2013 (#)

Fern, no show just writing. Don't I wish.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
18th Oct 2013 (#)

Stella, yes, the daffodils are the guard flowers. I'm not sure why the deer don't like daffodils when they like everything else.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
18th Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks, Carolina. I love the spring flowers, too.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
19th Oct 2013 (#)

Beautiful ideas...thanks Connie...

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author avatar Connie McKinney
19th Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks, Delicia, for your comments.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
20th Oct 2013 (#)

We have wild daffodils and jonquils. They often peak right before a heavy snow in spring! Kind of a joke here!
Great article!

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author avatar Connie McKinney
20th Oct 2013 (#)

Poor snowed on flowers. That is funny, Phyl.

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