From the Desk of Ed Hume: Spring Bulbs

September 23, 2009 at 12:32 AM Leave a comment

Hi folks, Ed Hume here.  Today I’m going to talk to you about Spring bulbs.

Fall is the time for you to select and plant the spring flowering bulbs. If you want to enjoy the beauty of tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths and all the other spring flowering bulbs, you need to get them planted in September, October or early November.

My recommendation is to plant them early while the weather tends to be more favorable. Plus, local nurseries, garden centers, and other places that sell bulbs have their best selections of quality bulbs and varieties early in the season.

If you’re selecting bulbs for the first time, look for solid, firm bulbs. It usually doesn’t matter whether they are totally clean or not. In fact, locally grown bulbs are often not quite as clean as those that are shipped in from other regions.

When you get home with the bulbs, choose a planting spot where they will give you the best color and be handy if you also want to use some as cut flowers. Most spring bulbs grow and flower best in full or part sun. However, if you have a spot that is somewhat shady, you will find many daffodil varieties that will flower quite well without any special care.

My favorite way to plant bulbs is to dig a round planting hole about 12 inches across. Dig it about 6 to 10 inches deep, then mix-in the correct amount of bulb fertilizer as specified on the label of the brand of bulb food you use. This is done so you get the bulb food below the bulbs, because this encourages excellent bulb root growth.

Now you are ready to plant the bulbs. Since you have a nice wide 12 inch planting hole, you can place up to one dozen or more bulbs in each planting hole. That way, when they come into bloom next spring, you’ll have a beautiful group (bouquet) of bulbs. And if you want to cut a few stems as cut flowers, it won’t ruin your garden display.

How deep should the bulbs be planted? Here’s an easy guide: Plant them three times deeper than the greatest diameter of the bulb, or use this general rule of thumb:

Tulips…plant them 4 to 6 inches deep

Daffodils…plant them 4 to 6 inches deep.

Hyacinths…plant them 5 to 6 inches deep.

Crocus…plant them about 2 inches deep.

By the way, if you are choosing hyacinth bulbs, use the smaller size bulbs for planting outdoors and the larger bulbs for indoor planting. The reason: Large bulbs produce larger flowers, which are apt to fall over (outdoors) during a strong wind storm. Plus, the smaller bulbs should be a better value.

The best bulbs for forcing indoors are daffodils, hyacinths, crocus and some of the lower growing varieties of tulips. Nursery and garden center staff will be able to recommend some specific varieties that are the best for forcing.

You’ll find more detailed information on bulbs in the ‘library’ section of my web site . Thank you all and have a wonderful day.

Kindest regards,


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Podcast: Spring Bulbs Clip of the Week: Spring Bulbs

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