It’s not too late for bulbs!

Maybe you’ve been getting a lot of “last chance” mailings like I have from vendors of fall bulbs. While some of the most popular varieties of tulips, daffodils, crocus and hyacinths have been snatched up, now is an opportunity to pick up some distinctive bulbs for a song.

Two of my favorite sources, Old House Gardens and John Scheepers Bulbs, currently have some nice sales going on that can set you up for a for a gorgeous spring, while also giving you some solace of puttering in the ground as colder temps approach. You may actually see sales of these bulbs at big box stores, but please remember that when it comes to perennial bulbs, size really DOES matter! Many online sources for bulbs who specialize in these beauties carry premium size bulbs that will perform well for many years with proper care.

Also that remember that all kinds of bulbs have a range of flowering times so that you can have a show from early March to well into May. So choose early, mid and late spring bloomers so you can enjoy your flower display for the maximum time!

There are a few hints that can help you have success with bulbs in your yard:

  • Pick a good site–most fall planted bulbs prefer good drainage. If your ground is a bit on the clay side, improve your soil with compost and peat to help “loosen” the soil.
  • Pick out bulbs that fit your situation. If you are in deer-dense areas, you may want to bypass the tulips and hyacinths for bulbs like daffodils and allium. Look for bulbs that last and multiply over time, as so most daffodils and many heirloom species tulips.
  • The basic rule to use when planting bulbs is plant 2-3 times the height of the bulb. For example, if you have small bulbs that are around an inch, plant them 2 to 3 inches deep. Large allium bulbs can be four inches tall–they need a hole about a foot deep.
  • Use fertilizer when planting your bulbs. Google “bonemeal” and you’ll read a variety of opinions about the benefits of this common horticultural additive. One my my favorites is Happy Frog Bulb Food which includes soil microbes to help your bulbs absorb its nutrients.
  • Water in your bulbs after planting–while Mother Nature has been generous with rain this fall, better safe to make sure your little lovelies are snuggled in with adequate food and moisture.

Come spring, your bulbs can use another feeding with a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer, when the shoots start emerging.

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