Fall/spring bulb basics

September 20th, 2010

I’m confused, should bulbs planted in the fall be referred to as “fall bulbs” because of when they are planted or “spring bulbs” because of when they bloom?

Regardless, I just planted mine to welcome the start of autumn on Wednesday. This year I decided to put in a few crocus. These and snowdrops tend to be the earliest bloomers. I love my mother’s sunshiny yellow ones that are the first to greet the warming rays of early spring. I picked up a cheap-O bag of 30 and popped them along the very front of my south and west facing beds along the house. Regardless of what type of fall-planted bulb you choose, there are basic tips for each.

  • Plant them at a depth of 2-3 times their height. In spots that stay bare or get really cold, deeper is better.
  • Plant them with the pointed in facing up and the button (roots) end facing down.
  • For a natural look dig a wide whole and plant several a few inches apart depending on size
  • For a pop of color in the lawn, lift a small chunk of sod, plant bulb and replace sod – use very early bloomers so by the time that first lawn mowing comes around the blooms will be spent and leafs starting to wither
  • Plant alongside later risers – plants that don’t get going until full summer – that way these plants will cover the withering, brown leaves of the spent, spring-blooming plants
  • If your spring-bloomers aren’t as prolific as they once were it usually means they need to be divided. Just dig and space out now and/or share extras with friends
  • There are bulb cages you can get if you have a frisky squirrel or other bulb-munching rodent around

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