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It's time to plant bulbs for spring flowers

Posted: November 8, 2015 - 12:07am
An amaryllis flower, and other plants with bulbs, must be planted when the ground is cool, says local master gardener Ginny Allen. November and even December are ideal for blooms in springtime.   File/Associated Press
File/Associated Press
An amaryllis flower, and other plants with bulbs, must be planted when the ground is cool, says local master gardener Ginny Allen. November and even December are ideal for blooms in springtime.

Cooler temperatures mean the ground is cooler and therefore it’s time to plant fall bulbs.

“November is a good time and even December is okay” for planting the bulbs, says local master gardener Ginny Allen, who explained that the bulbs need to be planted when the ground is cool.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, fall-planted bulbs “produce the first blooms of next year’s season. The bulbs spend the winter making roots and come up early in the spring.

‘‘So if you think that autumn’s the time to stop gardening, think again! It’s bulb planting time!”

Spring blooming bulbs can be purchased from many sources, including online, gardening catalogs and local nurseries. The Old Farmer’s Almanac reminds gardeners that “second rate bulbs produce second rate flowers or don’t sprout at all.”

Bulbs should be planted before the ground freezes, so for the CSRA, that means the month of November is the best time to do it. Gardeners should plant bulbs in areas where there is a lot of sunlight and well-drained soil.

Before planting the bulb, work some compost into the soil.

Compost is like conditioner to the soil; it allows the soil to retain nutrients and moisture.

“Most bulbs are planted twice the depth of the bulb,” said Allen, adding that bulb packages provide directions for how deep to plant the bulbs.

As a general rule, larger bulbs should be planted about eight inches deep and smaller bulbs should be planted about five inches deep.

Bulbs should be planted with the pointy side up or the roots down.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests planting a generous amount of bulbs in the event that some don’t sprout.

“Plant them in random order and spacing for a more natural appearance,” notes the Almanac.

“If you love groves of daffodils and blanketed landscapes of tulips, be prepared to buy and plant a large quantity of bulbs.”

After planting the bulbs, apply a low nitrogen fertilizer and water well. Cover with mulch to keep the weeds down and hold in moisture.

And as the winter weather sets in, no matter how much it chills you to the bone, be reminded that your bulbs are thriving on the cooler temperatures and know that come spring, your yard will be the envy of the neighborhood.

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vallenotr

bulb depth information

I have different recommendations for bulb planting depth: small bulbs, usually 2 inches deep, tulips 5 inches deep, daffodils 6 inches deep. It can be less if you are placing them close together in a container. You can plant amaryllis bulbs that you purchased for indoor winter blooms next spring in the garden.
Ginny Allen

Ginny Allen