Location

Planting your bulbs in the correct area is key to a successful spring garden. Choose an area with adequate light, bulbs prefer a sunny location. Keep in mind that for many early blooming bulbs, tree leaves will not be flushed out. You may have a shady area in your garden during the summer due to a tree but in early spring there is ample light due to the trees bare branches! The dutch say, ” Bulbs don’t like wet feet”. Bulbs can rot quite easily, so make sure the soil has good drainage. Don’t plant bulbs at the bottom of hills, or areas were you have standing water in spring.

Planting Depth 

Have you ever had bulbs that don’t bloom but have ample amounts of leaves? This is often due to the bulb being planted too deep or too shallow. Many bulb companies will tell you how deep to plant the specific bulb you are purchasing, so don’t forget to take a tag or write this information down. Plant the top side of the bulb up. If you aren’t sure which is the top, plant the bulb on its side. Most times the bulb will work it out as it grows! After planting, water in your bulbs.  As a general guideline, here are some average planting depths.

  • Tulips and shorter Narcissus should be planted around 6″ deep
  • Large daffodils should be planted around 8″ deep
  • Small bulbs like Crocus, Eranthis or Scilla should be planted around 4″-5″ deep
  • Alliums and Fritillaria should be planted around 4-5″

Creating Wonderful Spring Displays

With over 100 varieties of bulbs to choose from here at the greenhouse, you can create some stunning timed displays. When looking at bulbs, keep in mind what time of spring they bloom. It is best to plant some early, some mid and some late-spring flowering bulbs. We also find that it is best to plant in clusters rather than in singles or rows. If you plant one bulb alone, or make one thin long line you won’t have a mass amount of blooms, and the impact will be more dramatic when you plant in clusters. By planting in clusters, you don’t have to fill your entire garden for a great spring showing.

TIP: When choosing flowers that bloom at the same time don’t forget to plant short bulbs in front of tall bulbs. When choosing bulbs that bloom at different times you may want to plant tall, late flowers in front of the short, early flowers. This way, when leaves on the early short are starting to brown, your tall late flowers will cover them!

Layer Gardening

By using general planting depths you can create a layered garden. Plant small bulbs on-top of larger bulbs. You can choose bulbs that will bloom at the same time to create wonderful displays of color and textures. You can also use this with plants that bloom at different times to create a display that will bloom all spring!

Critters

Squirrels can be pretty annoying when you plant your bulbs. They often dig up bulbs like tulips and take them right out of the ground! While there is no surefire way to stop squirrels from doing this, here are some home remedies many gardeners have found useful.

  • Did you know squirrels don’t actually eat your bulbs? So why do they dig them up? After we plant our bulbs, we usually leave a tidy garden that looks freshly dug up. Squirrels see this and think that another squirrel has a stash of hidden nuts, jackpot! They dig down, take your bulbs, and after tasting them usually toss the bulb away.  To prevent squirrels from treasure hunting through your freshly planted bulb gardens, tamp down the soil lightly after you’ve finished. Spread mulch or leaves across your garden, this way it doesn’t look freshly dug up.
  • Use blood meal. A natural fertilizer that’s great for bulbs also deters squirrels and rabbits, as they do not like the smell of blood.
  • Choose bulbs that squirrels really don’t like. Hyacinths, Narcissus, Muscari and Allium are all bulbs that squirrels don’t usually mistake for a stashed nut, they may dig up the area, but they won’t run away with your bulb.

Maintenance 

In spring, deadhead your bulbs. This means, you should only cut off spent blooms, but leave the leaves until they start to brown. Once your leaves start to brown, you can lightly tug on them. If the leaf pops out easily, you know it’s time to cut them off. It is essential to leave the leaves on your bulbs, as they will start to bring in all the necessary nutrients that the bulb will store for next years growth.