Fall bulbs are some of the most rewarding plants you can have in your garden. They come back year after year providing bright and cheery spring flowers…often times they are the first blooms you see after a long dreary winter. There are different planting tips for different bulbs, so let me share some that have worked well for me in the past.
1. Each different variety of bulb requires a certain depth of planting. Follow the directions on the package for planting, or consult a gardening guide for help with your particular climate and type of soil.
2. Daffodils are most showy when they come up in clumps rather than one plant by itself. I usually plant two to three bulbs one or two inches apart to get the ‘bouquet’ effect when they bloom. They also make great container plants.
3. Daffodils do multiply over the years, so don’t plant more than two or three per hole to start out with! These cheery yellow harbingers of spring will multiply and decorate your yard year after year.
4. Let me share another tip associated with Daffodils…the bulbs are poisonous! So do watch your kids if they are helping you plant them. Don’t let them taste them, and make sure you and the kids wash your hands thoroughly after handling.
5. On the other hand, their poisonous nature makes Daffodils a deterrent to gophers! Landscape experts have advised me that if I plant daffodils along the borders of my garden, it will cause the pesky burrowers to steer clear of my flower beds. You can bet I’ll be expanding the daffodil population in my yard by a factor of 100.
6. Irises are another one of my favorite bulbs and are a staple in my garden. The bulbs are usually purchased with a short set of leaves attached. You plant them with the leaves sticking out of the dirt- this is a variety of bulb that doesn’t get a deep planting.
7. Irises usually grow leaves and flower stalks that are 24 to 36 inches high, so they should be planted towards the back of your planter bed. The beautiful blooms are three to five inches high and come in a variety of colors. There are usually four to six blooms per stalk.
8. Iris bulbs multiply mightily so don’t plant more than one in a hole… in fact, give them several inches between plants. Not only is the plant large when it is fully grown, but year after year you’ll have more and more of them. It’s best to leave them room for expansion.
9. If you have poor soil, there are soil enhancements you can work into the ground before planting. Check with a garden center for soil conditioners and plant foods that work best in your area.
10. Enjoy the fruits of your labor! Spend time in the garden when your bulbs are in bloom. Have your kids observe hummingbirds and butterflies as they investigate your new flowers.
There are many other fall bulbs to choose from such as Tulips, Crocus, Gladiolus, Amaryllis and more. All produce wonderful showy blooms that will brighten any spring garden. Websites such as that of Sunset magazine (www.sunset.com) and Better Homes and Gardens magazine (www.bhg.com) have been tremendously helpful to me for garden tips for all types of planting. Bulbs can be purchased at local garden centers, or Wal-Mart’s garden department. Enjoy your flowers!