Here are some favorite bulb varieties, tricks and tips from our friends at Espoma.
The chill of Winter finally begins to subside. After months of gray skies, sunlight slowly begins
to warm the earth. Your heart warms too, because the bulbs you planted last Fall are just
starting to emerge. At least, that’s what ought to happen. And why shouldn’t it? Bulbs are so
easy to plant, and so worthwhile when they bloom. What are you waiting for? Get inspired by
our favorites and get started by following a few simple steps.
6 Bulbs That Turn Us On
( All of the Following Varieties and More are Available in the Garden Center )
- Darwin Hybrid Tulip is a
Natural Selection. It’s a
very large tulip with the
classic shape that comes to
mind when you think of tulips.
Most are reddish-orange, but
you can also find them in
pink, yellow and white.
- Parrot Tulips are All the
Talk. We just had to mention
these. Like the birds, they
come in all kinds of beautiful
vibrant colors, and their curly,
frilly petals wave like feathers
in the breeze. Huge blooms
hold up well.
- Nothing Daffy About
Daffodils. Nearly everyone
loves to see these sunny
yellow or white flowers.
Daffodils stand up to the cold
and are always among the
first flowers to send shoots
upward in the Spring.
- Let’s Go Dutch – Iris,
That is. Dutch Irises are a
favorite because they are just
so dependable. Flower petals
luxuriously drape over their
sides, and the blooms come in
a wide variety of intense colors
- Wow, a New, All-Time
Hy–acinth. Sweet fragrance
and flower clusters stemming
from low plants are characteristics of this perennial spring
- Crocus Pocus. Almost like
magic, these lovely little
perennials(2-4 inches tall)are
always among the first signs of
spring. Crocuses come in
many colors – red, orange,
pink, purple and more. A side
benefit: pesky critters don’t
seem to attack them.
7 Steps to Fall Bulb Planting
1. Be Picky. Specifically, about your bulbs and where you’re going to plant them. At your
garden center, choose bulbs that are free from obvious physical damage, mold or mildew.
2. Timing Isn’t Everything. But it’s pretty doggoned important. Plant your bulbs when the
soil has cooled, but well before the ground freezes. Late September and October are
normally just about right.
3. Get in Deep. There are exceptions, but here’s a good rule of thumb: dig a hole about three
times deeper than the bulb is tall. So, a 3-inch bulb needs a 9″ hole. Sandy soil? Go slightly
deeper. Clay soil, go slightly shallower. Choose a well-drained spot for planting that will get
at least six hours of sun each day. Constantly wet, mushy ground is a good way to rot bulbs.
4. Don’t Miss the Point. When you plant bulbs, ALWAYS do so with the point facing up.
5. Get Good Dirt on the Subject. Bulbs like well-aerated, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. If you
have poor soil — too sandy or too much clay — add amendments to improve it. Be sure to add 1-1/2
heaping teaspoons of Espoma Bulb-tone® or Bio-tone Starter Plus® into the planting hole with the bulb,
where the roots can find it. This rich, organic, slow-feeding plant food is especially formulated to meet the
nutritional needs of bulbs. Feed again at the same rate when plants are about six inches high.
6. After Dinner Drink. After covering the bulbs with rich organic soil, water well to help them become
established before winter.
7. To Mulch is Enough. Adding a 3-inch layer of mulch over the surface of the soil will help insulate and
protect the bulbs against freeze and thaw conditions. If you’re worried about the shoots finding their way
through it in the Spring, you can always pull back the mulch in April.
Other Bulbous Tips
• If you have destructive pests like voles and squirrels, you may need to plant bulbs in a cage. Bulb cages
may be purchased at garden centers or fashioned by hand with a bit of wire mesh or chicken wire.
• Consider planting bulbs in groups or random order, keeping in mind that some will not sprout. This will
create a more natural-looking appearance than a regimented, straight line.
• Consider planting low bulbs in front of high, or layering bulbs to create striking combination arrangements
when they bloom.
• Bulbs don’t usually need to be dug up at the end of the first year. After the second year, watch for signs of
crowding, like smaller blooms. That’s a signal it’s time to dig bulbs up, dry them out for a few days, divide
and replant them.
• For fun, try planting bulbs in containers.