By -Georgia Lund-
Since the majority of spring flower bulbs require time spent in cold temperature before they will bloom, a beautiful spring flower garden must start in the fall. Selecting healthy bulbs and planting them in the right location is also necessary to achieve beautiful spring results. Use these tips for fall bulb planting so you can enjoy springtime floral fragrance and beauty in your landscape.
Whatever flower choices you make, always look for bulbs that are plump and firm. Don’t purchase bulbs that are soft or have mold growing on them. Select the biggest bulbs because the bigger the flower bulb, the bigger the bloom in will produce.
Select a location that will receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. Remember that areas under a deciduous tree will be sunny in the fall after the leaves have fallen from the trees, however, those locations may be in full shade when the tree leaves return and not be suitable for growing flowers.
All spring blooming flowers, like tulips and daffodils, must be planted in the fall. Flower bulbs can be planted as soon the soil begins to cool in September. From September until October is a safe time to plant fall bulbs. The bulbs will not have enough cold time if planted past the end of October.
Bulbs come in various sizes, so there is no exact planting depth, just a general rule; Dig the planting hole twice as deep as the bulb is tall. For example, if the bulb is 2 inches tall, plant it 4 inches deep.
Always plant bulbs with the pointy end facing up. If the bulb does not have a pointy end, look for the end where the roots came out. That root-end should face down in the planting hole.
Compost and Mulch
Place the bulb in the planting hole, then cover it with compost. The compost will help keep the flower bulb fed so it can store energy for spring bloom time. The compost is also easier than soil for the flower stalk to grow through.
After planting, cover spring bulbs with a 2-inch layer of organic mulch. This will prevent weed growth, help retain soil moisture and the decomposing mulch will add nutrients to the soil.
The layer of organic mulch will also prevent the bulb from being heaved from the soil during the winter by keeping the soil a consistent temperature. Frequent temperature changes in the winter cause the ground to freeze and thaw, which causes anything near the ground surface to lift, from the soil to the surface.
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