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Bulbs PDF Print E-mail

For our purposes, ''bulbs'' denotes true bulbs such as:

  • rhizomes
  • corms
  • tubers

We like using bulbs in landscape gardening because:

  • Ther're easy to grow.
  • they rarely get diseases.
  • they usually supply our gardens with the first blooms of the season.

When planted at the right time and right depth, they practically can''t fail. And it's easy to get the planting time right, because they're usually available only at the time they should go into the ground.

Most people think only of bulbs that bloom in the spring, like daffodils, crocuses and tulips. But there are others that will provide your garden with blooms almost any time of year. Bulbs are categorized by the time of year that they bloom:

  • early spring
  • spring
  • summer
  • fall

The spring bulbs need to be planted in late fall so they have time to establish roots before the cold winter sets in and freezes the ground. Bulbous plants have periods of growth and flowering followed by a dormant period when they rest to regain their energy.  Bulbs are usually sold in the dormant state and should be planted within a few days after they're purchased. If you must delay planting them, store them away from the light in a cool, sheltered place, such as a garage or basement.

Each type of bulb has its own depth and spacing requirements. Bearded iris, for example likes to be planted near the surface. However, summer hyacinth likes its bed to be 6 to 8 inches deep. Be sure to check the depths your bulbs prefer when purchasing them.

For flowers of the same type of bulb to bloom simultaneously, be sure their planting holes are the same depth. Tuck spring flowering bulbs among summer flowering perennials and shrubs to get an early start on the blooming season.

And be sure to resist the temptation to pull off the scraggly foliage after flowers fade. It stores the necessary energy for the long dormant period. Instead, plant a groundcover around the base of the plant to distract the eye and hide the unsightly remains.