7 Tips for Bulb Planting

yellow tulip bulbs in a mass planting

The more the merrier when it comes to tulips, large clumps work best.

1. If planting daffodils, get them planted early. The sooner you get your bulbs in the ground the sooner they will start to make roots and get growing for next spring. Daffodils need more time to make roots than tulips, in fact you can still plant tulips until the ground freezes

2. Squirrels love to eat freshly planted bulbs and especially love tulips and crocuses. Remedies against squirrels include using cayenne pepper and chicken wire over where you’ve planted. But cayenne washes off in the rain, and some squirrels are not deterred anyway. Chicken wire can be annoying to use. I find the simplest way to foil the critters is to use a physical barrier. I collect flat rocks and cover the areas where you have planted to stop the squirrels from digging them up. It also helps you remember where you planted them. You can always move them slightly out of the way in the spring when they start to come up.

3. Cover freshly dug soil. You never want to have a spot in your garden that looks smooth and freshly bare. It’s a like putting out a neon sign for squirrels saying: “Bulbs Here, Come & Get It”. Disguise your work as much as possible with mulch, leaves, rocks.

4. Add bulb food and/or bone meal with soil underneath bulb when you plant to give bulbs some extra nutrients to keep them going.

5. Water your bulbs, make sure they are well watered before frost. If winter is dry, and above zero for a prolonged period during winter, water again.

6. Plant in large groups, rather than singly. Dig large hole and put tulips of same type close together, in uneven amounts, like 7, 9, 11. They make a much better show this way.

7. Plant very early and very late varieties to have your bulb show last a long time. Especially nice are very early bloomers like species crocus and snowdrops. Great thing about these is that they multiply over time, and snowdrops might even bloom in February. Try growing some blue scillas in your lawn, eventually you’ll have a whole swath of bright blue—a feast for the eyes. I know I really appreciate having something bloom in March, makes me believe winter is ending soon. Plant alliums which bloom later and really extend your season.

Fiesta has many varieties of bulbs in stock right now, so check them out next time you are at the garden centre.

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