Planting bulbs is a fast, easy, and nearly foolproof way to enjoy spring flowers for both beginners and expert gardeners. The best part of planting bulbs is creating a beautiful design. Because they are planted in the fall, you get to work in cooler weather, the bulbs require less babysitting and watering, which makes them one of the best parts of autumn.
Planting bulbs correctly is easy as 1-2-3.
Step 1: Plan to plant bulbs when the evening temperatures are between 40-50 degrees. When you’re ready to plant, be sure to keep the label together with the bulbs so you can create a beautiful design.
Step 2: Choose a location you’d like to fill with spring blooms. Bulbs are happy nearly anywhere, but don’t love to have their feet wet, so avoid areas that are subject to a lot of drainage. It is helpful to add a little organic matter to the soil, but this isn’t necessarily required.
Step 3: Dig your holes following the recommendation on the label for planting depth. Big bulbs need about 8-inch depth, smaller bulbs need closer to 5. It’s best to plant bulbs in clusters. You can even plant small bulbs on top of larger ones! One bulb alone doesn’t make a great look, give a cluster of color for a beautiful display. If you don’t have enough to fill your entire bed, make several small clusters instead.
Step 4: Place bulbs point end up, this ensures your bulbs don’t grow upside down. It’s usually easy to tell which end is pointy and which is not, but if you’re not sure, plant it sideways and they’ll usually straighten themselves out in the growing process.
Step 5: Back fill the soil and you’re done! Water it right at the beginning to stimulate root growth, but there’s no need to worry about watering it consistently. Most climates receive enough moisture through the winter months to provide adequate nutrition to your bulbs.
Now it’s time to just sit back and wait for spring to come again. You’ll notice your bulbs come up early in the spring, as soon as the frost goes away. When your flowers have completed blooming, you can cut the flower head off, but don’t cut the foliage. Bulbs will use their foliage to gather nutrients for the following seasons. Once the foliage turns yellow or brown, the nutrients are gone and you can cut them to the ground.
When cared for adequately, some bulbs can return to bloom for several years. You can spread a fertilizer on top of the soil to help, but your bulbs will do most of the work on their own.