1. Choose Quality Bulbs
Start with high-quality bulbs that are plump and firm. Avoid soft or mushy bulbs or ones that have mold growing on them. Also, look for bigger bulbs. The bigger they are, the more they tend to bloom.
2. Plant in the Right Spot
Even healthy bulbs can fail if you don’t plant them in the right spot. Most bulbs love the sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun daily) and well-drained soil.
Check out this Plant Encyclopedia if you need help.
3. Timing is Key
Timing is key to beautiful blooms. Plant spring-blooming bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, in September or October. Wait to plant summer bulbs such as dahlia and gladiolus in the spring after the danger of frost has passed.
4. Dig Deep Enough
A common question for gardeners is, “How deep to dig the hole for bulbs.” Generally, you want to dig a hole two the three times deeper than the bulb is tall. So, if you have a three-inch tall bulb, you’ll need to dig a hole six to nine inches deep. Check planting directions, though, because there are some exceptions.
5. Place Pointy Side Up
If the bulb has a pointed end, the side will face up. No pointy side? Look for the roots.
6. Plant in Rich Soil
Bulbs love well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Mix your compost into the planting holes, especially if you have heavy clay soil or ground that stays wet.
7. Keep the Weeds Away
Weeds can steal nutrients from the soil and can attract insects or diseases. Spread two to three inches of mulch over the ground. Your bulbs will pop up, but the weeds won’t.
8. Water Well
Give them a good drink to encourage them to send out roots after you plant them. Watering well will help them establish more quickly and eliminate air pockets in the soil that could cause them to dry out.
9. Protect them From Critters
Certain critters, like squirrels, love to dig up freshly planted bulbs. If spreading a layer of mulch doesn’t do the trick, weigh down a piece of mesh or chicken wire over the soil to keep them from digging them up. You can remove the mesh or wire after the bulbs sprout from the ground.
10. Store Over Winter
If you live in a cold-winter climate, store your summer bulbs in a frost-free place until spring. To do this, plant the bulbs in containers, then sink the container in the ground. At the end of the season, dig them up and store them in an area that stays 40 to 45 degrees.
Tips for Planting Bulbs
Ultimately, what you do with fall bulbs is limited only by your imagination. A few hours of a brisk fall afternoon can yield months of colorful excitement in your garden. What other tips do you have for planting bulbs?
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