If you’re a novice gardener or feel like you have a bit of a black thumb, planting bulbs will probably be your favorite gardening venture yet. Spring flowering bulbs are very low maintenance, and they’re easy to select and plant. Then you have a beautiful pop of color in your yard to indicate that spring has arrived!
For the Memphis area climate, Daffodils and Tulips are two of the best choices when it comes to spring flowering bulbs to plant in your yard in the fall. When you buy bulbs, you want to pick the ones that are firm, and skip any soft, squishy bulbs because they may be diseased. Also, bigger bulbs are better because they usually yield more blooms. Once you buy bulbs, make sure to keep the right labels with the right bulbs. Otherwise you won’t be able to decipher the different color blooms to group them how you want them in your yard.
Spring flowering bulbs are best planted in the fall, because they need to “winter over” to provide the best possible spring blooms. Specifically, optimal bulb planting time is when temperatures hover between 40° and 50°F. Ideally, you should plant bulbs several weeks before the first freeze, so they have a chance to root properly to keep them freezing along with the ground. Try not to overcompensate though by planting bulbs too early because they could acquire fungus and disease in soil that is too warm.
If you come across unplanted bulbs after the optimal planting window, you should still plant them because they won’t keep until the following year, and there is certainly a chance that they could turn out fine. According to The Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center, “bulbs are survivors by nature’s design,” so go ahead and give it a try.
You likely have quite a bit of space to choose from when planning where to plant bulbs. Spring flowering bulbs thrive in sunlight, and even if you have a shaded yard, the bulbs will probably bloom before Memphis trees are covered in leaves. Just make sure the area you choose doesn’t puddle with rain water. Soil areas that drain properly are best, and your spring flowering bulbs will grow even better if you add some organic compost to the soil for extra nutrients.
Once you have found an area to plant bulbs, don’t worry too much about the individual placement of each bulb in that area. Large, natural groups of spring flowering bulbs will produce a nice aesthetic of blooms. To create this effect, you can sprinkle the bulbs around in an area and plant them wherever they land.
If you don’t have much of a yard, you can also plant most spring flowering bulbs in containers. Just store the containers in your garage or shed so the bulbs get the same cold that they would in the ground.
The first rule of planting bulbs is to keep the pointed side up and the side with the roots down. If you still aren’t sure which way is up or down, plant bulbs sideways and they will probably right themselves.
If your bulbs come with planting directions, use those of course. Otherwise, dig around in the soil a bit, take out weeds or rocks, and then create a hole two or three times deeper than the bulb, roughly 8 or 9 inches for most full size bulbs. Then fill in the hole with soil and firmly smooth it over, but avoiding hard packing.
After planting bulbs, you will want to water the area to begin the rooting process. To protect the area from weeds that could overtake the nutrients that spring flowering bulbs need, place 2 or 3 inches of mulch on top of the soil. This also conceals the holes from animals that are prone to digging up bulbs. After that, you should be finished. Prepare to enjoy your colorful yard come springtime!
Now you know all about bulb planting, but is there other yard advice that you need from our Memphis tree service? Feel free to contact us if you need assistance with preparing trees for winter, stump removal, or buying firewood for your family to enjoy in the coming cold months.
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