Before the winter freeze sets in, make sure to get your spring bulbs planted now. The ground is still warm enough for planting and will get them ready for cold weather growth. Winter allows for the bulbs to take root and be ready for an early spring awakening. Typically, the cut off for planting grasses, roses, perennials and evergreens is before the first frost, which could be here any day now. (Wondering what winter has in store for us this year? Check out the Old Farmer’s Almanac winter weather prediction here.)
For planting bulbs, make sure to dig a hole two to three times deeper than the bulb height. For example, a two inch bulb will require a hole that is four to six inches in depth (always check for exceptions to this rule on bulb packaging). Use the shape of the bulb as your guide for planting direction. Those with a pointed end face up, while those without a pointed end go root end down. Make sure the soil you are working with is in good condition, and mix in compost if needed. Always make sure to give your new planting a healthy dose of water as well.
Bulbs can be categorized as early, mid and late bloomers. They can be layered in the same planting bed as long as you follow the depth needs for each specific bulb. A grouping that would work well planted together would be lilium, narcissi and alliums, tulips and muscarie, scilla or crocus. The lilies would go in first since they need the most depth. Narcissi and alliums would go in next, fitted around the lilies and finally the muscarie and crocus. You would want to layer and cover them in soil before doing the next layer of bulbs.
If you don’t have time before the first frost to get your bulbs planted, don’t worry! You can always force bulbs during the winter months. Check out a blog post about forcing bulbs, written by Kristen Hansen, our nursery and garden center manager.
For all your bulb planting and garden questions, call our Garden Center at 515.987.0800 to talk with one of our experts.