Thinking About Planting Bulbs? Now Is The Time!

November 11th, 2014

Bulbs, bulbs, bulbs! We think about planting them when they first come into the stores… too early in my opinion. We think to ourselves, “oh yea I should plant some of those this year” and then we go on enjoying Labour Day, get the kids back to school and then celebrate Thanksgiving. Then they go on sale as the temperatures cool down and then we get busy with Halloween. The next time we think about them is the next spring when we see bulbs blooming in other peoples gardens and we think, “oh yea I was going to plant some of those.”

The time is now! You still have a short window in November. They are on sale and we should still have a few nice planting days left. And frankly, even if we don’t, they are easy enough to plant even on a cold day in early November.

Here are a few of my bulb planting tips:

how to plant bulbs* Remember to plant bulbs in groupings instead of rows. Dig a large flat hole and spread bulbs around, pointy side up, then cover bulbs gently with soil.

* Remember that bulbs need the nutrients from their leaves even after the blooms start to fade. Leave the leaves to yellow and die back naturally to feed the plants for next years’ bloom.

* Planting them properly is important. Refer to a chart that shows which planting depths each bulb needs.

chart that shows which planting depths each bulb needs

* Think about bulbs other than the tulip. Narcissus Daffodils are bright and cheery in the spring, squirrels don’t like them and I find their foliage not as prominent as they have to die back in spring as other plants come alive.

* Alliums are my personal favorite. I love the colours – the different shades of purple and blue that they come in. They also come in a variety of sizes both in height and flower size. You can definitely stagger the bloom time in your garden with these bulbs. Also being a bulb in the onion family, the squirrels are not a fan of these flowers either.

varieties of allium

* Crocus is another choice. Not as showy as some of the others but a nice cheery flower to see early in the garden, often as the snow melts. These are best placed at the front of the garden or near your front walkway due to their short stature. Perfect for a high traffic area where you can best enjoy their early blooms.

crocus in early spring

* If you really love tulips, go for it. Again, plant them close to the house and/or walkways so you can best see their blooms and keep an eye on the squirrels at the same time.

red and yellow tulip

* Create a small cutting garden area. Plant a few groupings of tulip bulbs in a sunny spot in the backyard and when they bloom in the spring you can cut them and bring them into the house. Since tulips require you to leave the foliage to die back naturally in order to ‘feed’ the bulbs for next year, you would have to replace these bulbs every year. The cutting garden would also enable you to plant some unusual varieties that you won’t find at your florists.

pink tulip grouping

Don’t feel like your garden needs to resemble the ones from magazines, with rows and rows of blooms. Even if you manage a few groupings this fall you will be very happy come spring.

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