Hasn’t this been a great spring for flowering bulbs? It seems we had just the right combination of cold weather and moisture this winter for one of the most dazzling spring displays in years. If your garden lacked vibrancy and color this spring, start planning your bulb wish list now while their beauty is still fresh on your mind.
Daffodils and Muscari are great naturalizers and will go forth and multiply each year with very little intervention required. Tulips don’t usually naturalize as readily and often need to be replanted each year. With a few simple guidelines, you can help your bulbs survive and grow stronger for another show next spring. Once the bulbs have finished blooming, snap off the spent flower heads before they go to seed but leave the foliage in place in order to send the nutrients back down to the bulbs. If the bulb leaves are in your way, many gardeners gently braid them and loosely secure them with rubber bands to keep them under control. If you’ve overplanted with perennials, it will only be a short time until the next wave of foliage blooms and completely hides any evidence of springtime bulbs.
If you’re starting a new garden this spring, a great way to make sure you have room for bulbs come fall is to pre-plant empty pots at the proper planting depth for the desired bulbs. This depth can range from almost 12 inches for Crown Imperials to only an inch or so for tiny bulbs like Anemones. Don’t forget to push an inconspicuous marker into the soil over the pots so you have no trouble finding them in the fall! A general rule of thumb is to dig the hole twice as tall as the bulb’s height but once you get your bulbs in the fall, consult the packaging for exact planting instructions. If you’re not sure what type of bulbs you’ll be planting, it’s always best to dig a deep hole—you can always add back soil to make the hole shallow. When fall bulb planting time arrives, you won’t risk damaging the roots of your spring-planted perennials and shrubs—simply pop out the pots, adjust the hole depth as needed, insert your bulbs and cover back up with soil! Next spring, your garden will be the envy of the neighborhood!