Hardy fall bulbs such as Daffodil, Tulip, Hyacinth, Crocus and Snowdrop are spring flowering plants that must be planted in the fall. They are mostly native to mountainous areas of Europe and the near east ñ Spain, Turkey and Afganistan. They actually need the dormant rest period of a long, cold winter. The melting snow and ice in early spring provide needed moisture as they start to grow and flower. Plant from September to December, even after the first frost if the ground can still be worked.
Bulbs can also be planted in individual holes. Dig a hole and sprinkle a tablespoon of a high phosphorous (middle number) fertilizer like Holland Bulb Booster in the bottom of the hole. Place the bulb in the hole with the pointed end up.
Cover the bulb with soil and water thoroughly. A 5 cm layer of mulch on top of the bed will help prevent winter weeds, retain moisture and insulate against severe winter cold and temperature fluctuations.
PREPARING A BED FOR FALL PLANTED BULBS
- Prepare the bed. Double digging will help to make a well-drained planting bed.
- Condition the soil. Improve soil by adding three inches of peat moss and one inch of composted manure. Then work into depth of 30 cm. Add 1 kg Bonemeal for every 92.9 m 2 (1000 sq.ft.)
- Plant the sooner the better. Point bulb upward. Dust with Bulb Fungicide to prevent root disease. Use Bloodmeal to deter squirrels from stealing bulbs for food.
- Add 2-5 cm of mulch.
The foliage must be allowed to remain to soak up sunshine and replenish the stored energy in the underground bulb. Only the flowering stems should be removed. In a few weeks, the foliage withers and dies down. This is a natural defense against the too hot summer sun in their original habitat.
Replanting your flower bed with summer annuals gives you the opportunity to use more bone meal which, with its high phosphorous content, is beneficial to both the new planting and the bulbs.
The chart below contains all the information you will need for successful bulb gardens.