Tips on Growing Fall Planted Flower Bulbs
When you receive your spring bulbs (tulips, daffodils, etc.) keep them in a dry, dark, cool place until ready to plant. They need air circulation so they will not collect moisture and rot. Planting times can vary from early October in the North to mid-to-late November in the southern regions. A good rule of thumb is to plant them about 6 weeks before the ground is frozen or after the first hard freeze. For more information and a planting depth illustration, see pages 14-16 of our Planting Guide.
Soil Preparation for Bulbs
Plant tulips in well-drained soil to ensure proper root formation. Incorporate a good quality organic compost as needed. Yum Yum Mix® is recommended as an excellent source of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium needed for strong plants and healthy roots. Mix a small amount into the bottom of the hole before planting your bulbs.
Many bulbs prefer full sun exposure, including Tulips. Exposure to full sun will bring out the rich colors that tulips offer, but some shade will enable a longer blooming period and still offer a colorful addition to your yard or garden. Other bulbs such as Muscaria, Allium, Galanthus, Hyacinthoides, Scilla and many Daffodils will tolerate partial shade and bloom well. Pink daffodils will hold their color longer if planted in dappled shade or morning sun/afternoon shade.
After planting, add a top dressing of compost or other organic material and water in thoroughly. If your winter is dry, water every three to four weeks throughout the winter and add more mulch if necessary.
Protect your Bulbs
One planting of Yellow Crown Imperial per 20 feet of garden bed will deter foraging mice, voles and moles. To deter chipmunks and squirrels from snacking on tulip bulbs, place a grid of chicken wire above the bulbs as you plant to protect them. Apply a mole or gopher repellent to the surface of the ground to protect bulbs from these burrowing mammals. As bulbs sprout, use our Deer Off Repellent to prevent deer and rabbits from browsing your spring blooms.
After your Bulbs have Bloomed
Once your bulbs have bloomed, allow the bulb foliage to brown and fade naturally since the leaves are feeding the bulb in the ground. Removal of foliage weakens the bulb and leads to fewer blooms the following year. Planting your bulbs amongst your perennials is one way to conceal the dying bulb foliage. The perennials begin to grow and fill out as the bulb foliage dies back. The perennials will then provide foliage and color in the garden from late spring through the summer and into fall. Regular fertilization with balanced organic or natural fertilizer and a re-application of mulch each fall will ensure more and more beautiful spring bulb blooms for many years!