Gardening Articles: Landscaping :: Trees, Shrubs, & Vines

Five Steps to Bulb Planting Success

by Charlie Nardozzi


The best time to plant spring bulbs depends on where you live. Ideally, wait until the soil temperature is below 60°F. As a general guide, plant in September through early October if you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 or 5; October to early November in zones 6 or 7; and November to early December in zones 8 and 9. Plant bulbs that have been refrigerated for 8 to 10 weeks in late December to early January in zone 10.

To discourage voles or gophers, add a handful of sharp gravel to the planting hole or plant bulbs in wire or fabric baskets. Don't mulch where rodents are a problem.

Layer two different species, such as tulips and grape hyacinths, in the same bed for exciting color combinations. Plant tulips first, then add enough soil to achieve the proper depth for the grape hyacinths. Plant the grape hyacinths between the tulips.

Set the bulbs in a planting bed or in separate planting holes with their roots or basal plate downward. If you are unsure which part of the bulb is the bottom, plant the bulb on its side.

Plant a variety of bulbs to extend the flowering season. In addition to daffodils and tulips, include some early-flowering bulbs, such as crocuses, snowdrops, and scilla, to herald the start of spring. Late-flowering alliums will continue the show into early summer.

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