Crocuses poking their colorful heads up through the snow is often Mother Nature’s first sign that spring is coming. When the daffodils follow, we know spring is really here, and that mass plantings of tulips and hyacinths will follow soon.
Enjoying these flowers next spring means planning ahead now. Spring flowering bulbs need to be planted the previous fall. That is why all the garden centers are featuring spring bulbs now. While the calendar says it is almost winter, the weather says it is still fall.
You can plant bulbs any time until the ground freezes. However, you better do it now since we don’t know when, or if, the ground will freeze.
Bulb planting is easy. Start by placing the bulbs where you want to plant them. Be sure to plan your bulb garden so that the lower growing plants are in front of the tall tulips and the colors are compatible.
You can buy a fancy bulb planting tool or simply use a trowel. Just thrust your trowel into the ground and pull it back toward you until you have a hole about the diameter of the bulb and twice as deep as the length of the bulb. If the bulb is three inches long, the hole should be six inches deep.
Don’t put any fertilizer in the planting hole. The bulb itself is made up almost entirely of starch, enough to provide the new plant with sufficient food until its leafs out and begins photosynthesizing – making its own food.
Be sure you plant the bulb right side up. The root side with small hair roots goes in the bottom of the hole. With that complete, you can backfill. Tamp the area lightly to eliminate air pockets and then give the newly planted bulbs a nice drink of water.
With that complete, all you have to do is sit back and wait for spring to enjoy your beautiful flowers.
After your bulbs have flowered next spring, it is OK to cut off spent flowers, but not green leaves. These are needed to continue making food through photosynthesis. When the leaves turn brown, they, too, can be trimmed off. Then just wait for the plants to bloom again the following spring.