Why Natorps

 


Spring Flowering Bulb Tips

General Information About Spring Bulbs

Planting Spring Bulbs

Spring Bulb Care

Spring Bulbs in Containers

Surprise Bag of Spring Bulbs

 

 



General Information About Spring Flowering Bulbs

Spring flowering bulbs are an excellent way to provide color and variety to the late winter through early Summer landscape. Some Early varieties of Crocus and Snowdrops actually bloom during the last few Winter snows.
Location
Tulips, daffodils and other fall bulbs require a half to a full day of sun and well drained soil. They can be planted in landscape beds and perennial gardens, or they can be naturalized. Naturalized plantings are deliberately placed so that they appear unplanned. Bulbs can be planted under deciduous trees because they will make most of their growth before the tree's leaves shade their location during the summer. The roots of trees and shrubs will also help to keep the soil dry through the summer.
Preparation
Work bone meal or Dutch Bulb Food™ into the soil where the bulbs will be planted. If you have had trouble with critters munching on your bulbs, you may dig out a planting bed and the line the bottom and sides with window screen. Plant the bulbs and then cover the entire area with chicken wire. Apply a thin layer of mulch to hide the wire.
Planting
In the Cincinnati area larger bulbs such as tulip, daffodils and hyacinths should be planted 6-8" deep and 6"-8" apart. Minor bulbs; crocus, snowdrops, anemones and others, should be planted at least 4"-5" deep and 4" apart. The pointed side of the bulb always goes up. If you are in doubt, plant the bulb on its side. To get a great selection of bulbs, it's best to make your purchases in September. We then recommend that the bulbs be held for planting until mid to late October or even into November.
Watering
Water bulbs right after you plant them. If it is a dry Fall you will want to water bulb plantings about every 10 days through December.
Spring Care
After the bulbs flower, the foliage must remain intact until it browns naturally or the bulb will not be able to store enough energy to bloom next year. After flowering it will help to fertilize the bulbs with a liquid garden food.
Division
Some bulbs such as daffodils and some tulip varieties will multiply rapidly. As the bulbs multiply, the flower quality and quantity will diminish. The bulbs can easily be divided by digging them up in mid-summer after the foliage has died, or in early fall. The divided bulbs should be replanted as soon as possible.
Diseases and Pests
Some bulbs are the favorite snacks of squirrels and moles. There are some ways to control these bulb bandits. Plant daffodils around susceptible bulbs, as they are poisonous and are often avoided by wildlife. Screen beds with wire as described in our Preparation section. As a last resort,do not plant bulbs that are constantly disappearing. Experiment with different varieties. In very moist area fungus can be a problem. This can be avoided by dusting bulbs with sulfur based fungicides following label directions.

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How to Plant Spring Bulbs!

If youare looking for a way to light up your yard next spring, Here is the perfect answer.  Plant spring bulbs!  That's right, plant spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, crocus, hyacinths, alliums, snowdrops and more!  Spring flowering bulbs are planted in the fall, because they need a period of cold before they will bloom.  Planting in October gives them plenty of time to root in before winter, and of course, winter provides the cold temperatures.

Now here are a few tips when it comes to successful spring bulb planting.

1.) Take a moment and read the bulb labels.  Not all bloom at the same time, so by proper planning, you will be able to extend your spring flowering from late winter through late spring.
2.) Once you have decided on the bulbs you would like, make sure the actual bulbs you chose are firm, not soft, and look for the largest bulbs.  Make sure you mark the bags so you remember which bulbs are which!
3.) Plant your bulbs in an area that receives at least 1/2 day of full sun.  Make sure the soil is well drained.  Bulbs will not tolerate wet feet.  Add Pine Soil Conditioner as a soil amendment if needed.
4.) Plant your bulbs point up.  If in doubt, plant the bulb on its side.  For the larger bulbs like tulips and daffs, plant 6-8 inches deep, 6 inches apart.  For the smaller minor bulbs, plant around 4 inches deep, and 4 inches apart.  And be sure to plant your bulbs in masses or natural patterns, not in rows like little toy soldiers.
5.) For ease of planting, use a spade and dig out larger holes for massed plantings, or try using the planting auger, which attaches to your electric drill.
6.) Be sure to feed your new bulbs with a good bulb food like Espoma's Bulb Food, which can be sprinkled into the hole, or over the top.  
7.) Once you are finished planting, be sure to water your bulbs thoroughly.  If it stays dry through the fall, you will need to water the bulbs really well, about every 10 days until we get close to Christmas.

If squirrels and rodents have been a problem for your newly planted bulbs, try some of the rodent repellents, or placing chicken wire over top of the planting areas, or just forget all the other bulbs and only plant Fritilaria and daffodils.  Rodents do not like them, and guess what?  Neither do the deer!

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How to Care for Spring Flowering Bulbs

By now, a lot of the spring flowering bulbs like daffodils and tulips have finished flowering or getting close to being finished.  And what we do with these bulbs for the rest of the spring, will determine how well they perform next year.

From the time the bulbs start to grow, until the foliage fades away in late May, not only are these bulbs producing flowers, but they are also rebuilding the bulbs so they can re-grow and flower again next year.  So:

-Be sure to feed your bulbs when the new foliage is about 1/2 way to normal size (before flowering).  If you do not feed them at that stage, go ahead and feed after blooming with a bulb food to make sure they have the proper nutrients in the soil needed to help rebuild.

-When the flowers have faded, spend a little time deadheading and removing those spent flowers from the bulbs. This is not recommended for daffodils (to reduce chances of transferring any bulb diseases).

-If the spring is unusually dry, water.  Those bulbs need good moisture right now as they work on rebuilding.

-And most importantly, let the plants stay green as long as they can.  And that may mean until mid to late May.  Once the foliage starts to turn yellow, then you can cut them back to the ground.  The longer the green foliage remains, the more nutrients it can supply the bulbs down below.  If you cut off the foliage too soon, you may be spoiling the chances of that bulb growing and flowering again next year!  As a general rule, allow 6 weeks or longer after the flowering has finished before removing the foliage.

-If you need to transplant your spring flowering bulbs, after the foliage begins to yellow is the perfect time.  Dig, and replant in their new location.

And what about braiding or rubber-banding the foliage of daffodils right now?  Forget it.  These practices cut down the surface area of foliage available to produce food for the bulbs, and when they are bent like that, well, think about it ... you can not get water through a kinked hose.  So do not do that ... please ...your bulbs will thank you for 'not doing that', next year. 

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 Spring Bulbs in Containers

You can light- up you yard next spring by planting spring bulbs now.  But guess what?  You can do the same thing, to light up your outdoor containers or to bring spring bulb colors inside your home.  Instead of planting bulbs in the ground, simply plant them in a pot!

Growing spring bulbs in a container - Now here is what you’ll need for your potted spring bulbs project:

-8 inch or larger pots, with good drainage holes in the bottom

-Soil-less potting mix for our potting medium

-A little of Espoma's Bulb Food

-And the bulbs of your choice.  Any of the spring flowering bulbs will work, so let's do some pots of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths for great fragrances, and a few minor bulbs, like these crocus, for early colors.

1.) Take your pots and place about an inch or so of soil-less potting mix in the bottom. 

2.) Then, evenly distribute your bulbs in the mix, point up, and feel free to plant them a little closer than you would normally in the ground.  For the tulips, place the flat side of the bulb to the outside of the pot.

3.) Cover your bulbs with more of your soil-less mix, sprinkle on a little bulb food, and then continue to fill the pot to the top, lightly compressing the soil as you fill.

4.) Water your potted bulbs thoroughly.

5.) Now, here is the secret.  You must over winter your potted bulbs in a cold area.  So, once the temperatures outside have become very cold, consistently, move the planted bulb pots inside an unheated garage or shed, put them down in a window well, or actually heel them in the ground for the winter.   Check to make sure they even moisture over the winter, and otherwise, just let them sit.

6.) Early next spring, when the bulbs start to grow, bring them in to the house, or place your potted bulbs in an outdoor planter, give them a light feeding, and let them do their 'spring thing'.  When they are totally finished, you can take them out of the pot, plant them in the garden and enjoy them for years to come!

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Finding a Surprise Bag of Spring Bulbs

Okay guys, here is the scenario - you are out in the garage cleaning up the work bench, when you come across a bag.  It looks familiar, and as you start to open it, your heart begins to race.  Could it be?   Yes it is!  It is those special bulbs your wife asked you to plant for her last October!  Now what are going to do?  Well, first of all, do not panic.  It is only bulbs.  And guess what?  You have got a couple options that can save your hide. 

First, when nobody's looking, go plant 'em!  Yes, it is the winter, and yes, you are late, but planting them right now is the best thing to do.  Get out the spade or long handled bulb planter and put them in the ground.  Use the same planting procedure as you would have in the fall, and when you are finished, be sure to water them in.

Now, there is another option.  If for some reason you can not plant them in the ground, you could always plant them in pots!  Simply take a 6 or 8 inch pot, place a couple inches of potting soil in the bottom, nestle a few bulbs in the bottom of each pot, then fill the pot with more soil.  Water your pots thoroughly, then either place them in a cold frame outside, keep them in an unheated garage or shed, or do like we do - dig a trench and heel them in a mulched area outside.  Now, this spring, when the bulbs begin to grow, simply bring the pots inside, and enjoy a wonderful potted bouquet of spring flowering bulbs, indoors.  And guess what?  Now, you are a gardening hero.

When your potted bulbs are finished blooming, you can remove the bulbs from the pots and plant them outside, wherever it was your wife wanted them planted in the first place!

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