Bulbs for Each Season
Bulbs for Each Season
With some advanced planning, you will be able to choose from a wide variety of spring bulbs which will bloom early, mid or late spring.
- Early spring bloomers include Winter Aconites, Snowdrops, fragrant Puschkinia, Glory of the Snow, tiny Iris Reticulata, Anemone Blanda and Crocus.
- The Daffodils and Narcissi are next with various heights ranging from 15 cm to 60 cm (6″ – 24″) and colours from the traditional yellow, to white, orange and peach. Try placing them with the intense blue of the Grape Hyacinths or Scilla. Another great Hyacinth for your spring garden is fragrant Hyacinths. Besides blue, they are also available in shades of pink, red, white, peach and pale yellow. The Daffodils and Narcissus need to be planted in September or early October as they require some rooting before the cold weather arrives.
- Tulips come in three distinct groups depending on bloom time (early, mid or late). Much the same as Daffodils, they are available in many heights while their colour range is much broader. The shape of the tulip flower ranges from a large cup to a flat star, a fringed cup, or a double that can look like a Peony or a feathered specimen called “Parrot”. Blooms can be held singly on strong stems or in clusters.
- Allium comes into flower toward the end of May. These “ornamental onions” have an exotic look and range in height from 30 cm – 125 cm (12″ – 4′).
Planting Spring Flowering Bulbs
These bulbs flourish in well-drained soil and will come back for a number of years when they are planted where sun is plentiful.
• Ensure you follow the package instructions for the proper planting depth and spacing of each bulb.
- Add Bulb Booster, Bone Meal, or Super Phosphate to the planting area for superior blooms.
- For a large ‘drift’ effect, plant 30-50 of the same variety of bulb. In foundation plantings, rock gardens, perennial, and mixed borders arrange the bulbs in clumps of 7 to 12 or more.
- Do not plant your bulbs in single rows as they will fall over without the support of their neighbours.
- Always allow the foliage to die back naturally. This process feeds the bulb that produces the flower for the following year. You can enhance the flowering of all your bulbs with annual applications of Bulb Booster each spring.
Protection from Squirrels
Unfortunately, squirrels adore spring-flowering bulbs. They’ve been known to re-arrange or completely remove your carefully arranged groups. Here are some guidelines to try to keep them away:
- Sprinkle Blood Meal or Critter Ridder over the bulbs before covering with soil.
- Make another application of either product for the top of the soil.
- You can also lay chicken wire over the area, peg it down firmly, and remove in the spring when growth starts. This will also keep cats away.
- Squirrels do not like the taste of Daffodils, Narcissus, Allium, or Fritillaria.
If you enjoy the tender bulbs, tubers or corms (Dahlia, Canna, Tuberous Begonia, Gladiolus, Calla Lily, Crocosmia, Freesia, Dutch Iris) planted in spring for blooming the same summer, keep in mind that they will not overwinter if left outside. You can replace them the next year or lift them in fall, store them inside and replant the following spring.
- Summer-flowering bulbs look great when planted in borders or containers.
- Pendulous Tuberous Begonias make a wonderful addition to hanging baskets for shade.
- Dwarf Dahlias form an abundant, floriferous plant in containers. Dahlias make a statement in perennial borders because they bloom well into October. Choose from many heights and flower shapes, sizes, and colours.
- Gladioli are most often grown for cutting in August and are not usually a feature in main borders. They are frequently situated in a separate “cutting” garden.
- Cannas are now available in dwarf sizes so they can be versatile in other places. Their large, bold leaves are solid green or bronze and some are strikingly variegated.
Planting Summer-Flower Bulbs
- Ensure you follow the package instructions for planting at the proper depth in well-drained soil.
- Add 3 in 1 Planting Mix or peat moss, compost, and manure to heavy clay.
- For earlier blooming, you can start bulbs, tubers, or corms indoors in March/April and transfer outside after all risk of frost has passed.
- Keep plants well watered during hot weather and feed approximately every 3 weeks with water-soluble Flower Food 15-30-15.
- In mid to late October or whenever the frost hits your summer-flowering bulb, dig it up, cut back all the flowers and foliage, and let it completely dry out on newspaper for 1-2 weeks. Gently remove dried earth and coat with powdered Bulb Dust to kill insects and disease. Store in a cool, dry place in dry peat moss, in an open paper bag, or cardboard box. Mist lightly from time to time.
Start the bulb inside in a light sterilized seed soil or plant directly into the garden around the Victoria Day weekend.
In the spring, pick up the summer-flowering bulb called Nerine. It blooms a beautiful, bright pink in September. Around mid-August, pick up the fall-flowering Crocus and Colchicum. They can be planted immediately and will bloom in the latter part of September. These unusual specimens will put on leaves the following spring.
Bulbs for Pushing Into Winter Bloom
Available in the fall are Fragrant Paperwhites and magnificent Amaryllis which are well-known for blooming inside when the weather is cold outside. Take a look for the specially prepared Hyacinths that can be “pushed” into winter flowering. In addition, there is a designation on certain Crocus, Tulips, and Daffodils bulbs that are suitable for forcing (the packaging should state this).
- Ensure you follow the planting instructions on the packaging.
- In all cases, use a light, sterilized potting soil for indoor use.
- Place a layer of gravel or broken pot shards in the bottom of your planter.
- Do not over water or your stems will be long and floppy.
- Warmth, combined with a tiny bit of moisture is enough to trigger flowering.
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