Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Bulbs
Early Spring Bulbs (page 2 of 2)
by National Gardening Association Editors
FAQs about Early Spring Bulbs
Q. The hyacinth bulbs I forced indoors are droopy. Is there anything I can do to make them stand up?
A. It's likely that the room is too warm or the plant ins't getting enough light. Hyacinths like it on the cool side, around 60F, and should be kept in a bright room but out of direct sunlight.
Q. After some heavy rains last spring, my grape hyacinth (Muscari) bulbs, which have been in the ground for a number of years, started popping out of the ground. What happened?
A. Soil erosion, frost heaving, or overcrowding could be the cause. Since these bulbs are planted only a few inches deep, freezing and thawing of the ground, coupled with the soil washing away during spring rains, could have eroded soil around the bulbs and made it appear as if they had popped out. Simply push the bulbs back into the ground. To avoid this problem in the future, in fall after the ground has frozen, mulch the planting with 2 to 4 inches of bark.
Q. My crocuses are becoming very tall and falling over. Should I cut them back?
A. Don't cut them back. Always let the foliage on the bulbs die back naturally, so the bulb can replenish its food storage in preparation for the next season. Bulbs tend to get floppy if they are not getting enough sun and/or if the weather is too warm. If they are growing in shade, you might move them to a sunnier location. If the weather's been unusually warm, there's not much you can do.
Q. Is it true that saffron comes from the crocus flower? Can I grow the crocus in my garden?
A. Saffron comes from the dried stigmas of a fall-blooming crocus, C. sativus. If your crocus are C. sativus, you can harvest your own saffron. Pick the stigmas--the yellow threads in the center of the flower--as soon as flowers open, air-dry them, then store them in an airtight container to be used to flavor foods. You'll need about 100,000 blossoms to produce one pound of saffron, but only a dozen to flavor a family-sized paella.