November 2012 Newsletter (vol.12)   >>   Tulips and Daffodils and Crocus, Oh My!

Planting Bulbs


The trees are almost bare and there is not much left to do outside in the garden. The list of outdoor chores is dwindling, along with available daylight. Now is the perfect time of year to take a look around your yard and start dreaming of tulips and daffodils and crocus, oh my!


Look around your landscape and find perfect spots to add some spring color. Keep in mind that…


  1. Bulbs need full to partial sun, but since deciduous trees have dropped their leaves, there are more potential planting areas in the sunny to partially sunny areas in your landscape.
  2. Bulbs look best when planted in clusters and groupings instead of rows.
  3. Most bulbs prefer a well drained soil. Daffodils can tolerate a little heavier clay soil. Plant accordingly. Before planting, work an all purpose fertilizer such as 12-12-12 or Bulb-tone
    into the soil along with some organic matter and add some Turface to provide good drainage.
  4. The hole should be two to three times deep as the bulb is tall. (Plant tulips and daffodils 7-8 inches deep, hyacinths 6 inches deep and crocus and most small minor bulbs 3-4 inches deep.) If you’re short on space, bulbs can be planted in layers. Dig one hole, place the largest bulbs on the bottom, layer some soil on top of them and then add the medium sized bulbs and add another layer of soil on top of that and add the small bulbs, top them off with soil and you have three different bulbs planted in one hole.
  5. Once the bulbs are done blooming, their leaves will start turning yellow. This is an important and necessary process that provides energy for next year’s blooms. Definitely remove the fading flowers to make sure the bulb doesn’t go to seed, but be sure and let the leaves mature. The leaves should not be cut or braided; they should be allowed to sprawl out to collect as much sunlight as possible. Placing bulbs in areas that will have emerging perennials can help disguise the yellowing foliage.

Tulips, daffodils and hyacinths have long been mainstays of the spring bulb garden, but there are many more bulbs out there that possess outstanding qualities all their own. Many of the varieties listed below are included in our 2012 Fall Bulb List.


Chinodoxa One of the earliest blooming bulbs is called the Glory of the Snow. The Latin name for this bulb is Chionodoxa. (84-0771 blue with white center and 84-0772 white) It produces small 6 petal flowers that face upward. The blooms can be blue with a white center, but it also comes in white and pink. This bulb is best planted in large groupings where it will spread with ease. It is considered animal resistant and has the best bang for the buck as a long term bulb. Tulips have a tendency to dwindle after a while, daffodils need dividing to thrive, but these little bulbs keep multiplying and spreading without much work or effort after their initial planting. Plant them in an area of sun or part shade and watch them multiply year after year.
Allium Globemaster Alliums, sometimes called ornamental onions, come in a wide variety of shapes, colors and sizes. They range from the tiny flowering alliums (Neapolitanum 84-0709, Ostrowskianum 84-0710) that work well in the front of the border or in rock gardens, to the large round ball shaped flowers that sit atop a tall stem looking like a lollipop in the back of the garden (Giganteum 84-0704 Gladiator 84-0705, and Globemaster 84-0706). Chives are alliums and can do double duty in your garden by providing beautiful blooms as well as leaves that are used in a variety of foods. Alliums are animal resistant. The bulbs give a long season of interest, because after the blooms have faded, they dry very well and give an interesting look to the garden. “Hair” (84-0717) is certainly the most unique variety of allium, maybe of any plant! This allium is the mutation of the drumstick allium (sphaerocephalon 84-0714). It starts with the reddish purple center and then has greenish stringy, yellow, hair like tendrils spilling out of the center, giving it an almost spooky appearance. “Hair” allium would be a great addition to a children’s garden.


Spring might seem like a long ways off, but whatever type of bulbs you do plant, you will be quite happy that you took the time to plan for a beautiful spring garden. Pick the perfect spot and order your bulbs today by calling 1-800-325-3055.


Other bulb-related supplies you may need: