If you’re looking to add some early spring color to your garden, planting bulbs this fall is a great way to do so. They require little care, are easy to find at any garden center or by mail ordering online, and bulbs can even be potted and kept indoors. The only major requirement is that you plant your spring bulbs at the right time – and here in the mid-Atlantic, October is ideal. Below are some ideas for your garden and how to get started.
Location, Location, Location
First, you will want to take a look at the huge variety of bulbs available and decide on what you would like to plant and where. A traditional look is to plant daffodils and tulips in abundance, which offers an intense wash of color that really sets your yard apart. Alternatively, smaller bulbs such as fragrant hyacinths or crocuses are great for the perimeters of walkways, ponds, and rock gardens. If you intend for your bulbs to be perennials, plant them in an area with other plants that can fill the space once the bulbs die back. Remember that planting bulbs in containers allows you to keep them indoors as well or plant them outside once they’ve bloomed.
How to Plant Bulbs
Your bulb’s packaging should tell you how deep of a hole to dig. Using a standard bulb planter allows you to push down, rotate, and pull until you’ve created a hole of appropriate depth. If planting multiple bulbs, you may want to arrange where they’re going to go before you start creating holes. Once you’ve dug a spot for your bulb, place it in the hole spiky-side facing up. After that, you can push the dirt you remove back over the hole and pat down gently until it’s packed tightly. A tip for planting a mass of bulbs is to simply dig one hole deep enough and arrange your bulbs – it’s easier than using a bulb planter over and over.
If it’s your first time planting bulbs, keep it simple in terms of both variety and numbers. Experiment in small quantities to see what performs well in your garden. While a local nursery may have dozens of options, going to a big box store can also be a good idea if you do want to buy in bulk. Any remember to resist the temptation of cutting back the stems and foliage of your flowering bulbs once they have stopped blooming. Doing so will adversely affect their bloom the following year.
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