Growing Flower Bulbs
Bulbs are an incredibly versatile addition to any type of garden. Typically, they are used in perennial borders, natural woodland gardens, naturalized in meadows and orchards, in containers or for indoor forcing to enjoy the blooms out of season. In fact, nearly 50% of all bulbs sold are planted in containers. The bulbs we offer are intended for planting in the fall, so bloom times are included for late-winter/early spring through early fall. Many months of continuous bloom are possible.
Bulbs are not just about the blooms. The Fritillaria Assyriaca with its dramatic architectural structure is a good example of how foliage can play an important role in many garden situations. If you would like to mimic the appearance of bulbs naturally multiplying in the wild, concentrate your bulbs at the center of a grouping of plants or plant in drifts. We all agree that bulbs are beautiful and fun to grow.
Planning & Selection
You will be most well-rewarded for your efforts if you respect the cultural requirements for your bulbs when you plant including their various requirements for acceptable climate, soil, water, and drainage. The information provided with each variety including zones, blooming height, spacing and depth, bloom time, and variety specialty should be treated as general guidelines since results will vary by climate, soil type, and fertility.
The best way to determine if your soil needs amending for bulb planting is to have a soil test done (see Soil Analysis) which provides a complete analysis and how to adjust your soil organically.
Make sure your soil analysis indicates that the pH is between 6.0 and 7.5 which is optimal for bulbs. If your soil tests outside of these levels, you will need to adjust the pH (if below 6.0, too acidic, generally add Oystershell Lime; if over 7.5, too alkaline, generally add Gypsum or Organic Matter, such as Compost.
Bulbs require good drainage, but can tolerate some heavy soils if planted on slopes. Bulbs sitting in soggy soil may rot.
When planting bulbs, put the flat end of the bulb down and the pointed side up. If you are in doubt, put the bulb on its side and it will right itself.
Deep watering is best for bulbs. If drainage is good, a soaking down to a 1’ depth is not excessive. Give your bulbs a deep soak when buds first appear and make sure they receive consistent water while in bloom (avoid heavy overhead watering, which can harm or knock down blooms; use drip irrigation) and until leaves turn brown.
Fertilize when shoots first appear with a liquid fertilizer and again after bloom, but before dormancy.
Protection from Gophers
If you have gophers, consider planting bulbs inside a gopher wire barriers (see Gopher Wire Baskets).
When cutting flowers, leave the foliage. The foliage makes food for the bulb that is needed for growth and production. Snip off spent flowers as soon as they are past their prime.
Leave a Comment