Bulbs bloom into gorgeous, hardy plants that can add color and interest to your garden. Some of the most beautiful, well-loved flowers grow from bulbs, such as tulips, narcissus, and lilies, just to name a few. If you're thinking of purchasing some bulbs of your own to grow, here are four tips to ensure strong, healthy blooms:
1. When should I plant my bulbs?
There are two types of bulb, tender and hardy bulbs. Tender bulbs, as their name suggests, are more fragile and should be planted outside in early spring, once all winter frosts have passed. If you wish to start sooner, you may start sprouting the bulb indoors, transplanting it outside once it is warm enough.
Hardy bulbs, on the other hand, should be planted in early fall. These bulbs will sit beneath the dirt, where they will grow strong, sturdy roots all winter. Purdue's Department of Horticulture notes that planting at this particular time is of the utmost importance, as strong roots will ensure more plentiful flowers in the future.
2. How should I prepare the soil?
Bulbs need well-drained soil in order to thrive. Their roots will start to decay if left sitting in water. If your soil is thick and waterlogged, break it up by digging into the dirt in order to aerate it. You can also improve drainage by mixing some sand into the top layer of soil.
3. Do I need to fertilize my bulbs?
Yes, you should fertilize your bulbs once per year. Apply the fertilizer around the roots of your bulbs, then follow up with a good watering. Most fertilizers will have manufacturer's instructions to guide you in the amount of fertilizer you should use. If any fertilizer gets onto the plant's leaves, wash it off as soon as possible, as direct contact with fertilizer can burn your plant.
4. When can I expect flowers?
If you planted your bulbs in fall, your flowers should bloom is spring. Hardy bulbs such as perennial lilies, narcissus, and daffodils all bloom in the spring. Tender bulbs planted in the early spring will bloom in the summer. These late-bloomers include flowers like calla lilies, dahlias, and begonias. Although it may take bulbs a while to flower, their beauty is well worth the wait.
Bulbs can bring color and excitement to any home and garden. Whether you've never planted them before, or you're a seasoned veteran at growing bulbs, these four tips will help you grow beautiful, strong, and healthy plants.