Bulbs are a natural product. And, as such, follow a natural cycle of growth and rebirth. Enjoying their fabulous flowers means planting ahead; simply "dig, drop, done" in one season then "delight" in the next. Bulbs are among the easiest flowers to grow and also the most stunningly colorful to enjoy. Even the most novice gardener can create a breathtakingly beautiful spring, summer and fall garden with bulbs.
A flower bulb is really a self-contained flower factory. Within this marvelous little package is nearly everything the flower needs to come to life! Split a tulip open, for instance, and you'll see its baby flower bud, leaves, roots, stem and food supply. All bulbs need from you is to be placed in the ground at the appropriate season of the year, given a liberal drink of water then left to work their magic.
Flower bulbs come in a seemingly limitless variety which makes them perfectly suitable for any garden design you can dream up. Planting just a few can easily provide beautiful color in your garden for several months. Daffodils are the first sign of spring and dahlias will bloom until frost hits the pumpkins.
The three most important factors to keep in mind are color, of course, but also plant height and flowering period.
In general, there are two seasons for bulb planting:
After soil temperatures are below 50ºF/10ºC. These bulbs bloom the following spring and require the cold winter temperatures for development. But let's say winter arrives and your bulbs are still in their bag. Not to worry! Bulbs are pre-programmed to grow so even if you have to plant through snow, plant your bulbs!
After the danger of frost has passed (tender bulbs love soil that is at least 60ºF/15ºC). These bulbs bloom in summer/fall.
These days, you can buy bulbs just about anywhere:
The bigger the bulb, the bigger the flower.
Plan ahead. Make a list and include pictures from catalogs or magazines.
Consider your climate. Choose bulbs suited to grow and bloom in your area.
Read labels. Pre-packaged Dutch bulbs include planting instructions on their labels.
Inspect the bulbs. Healthy bulbs are generally firm bulbs.
Be wary of bargains. Steer clear of bulbs that are mushy or show signs of mold or fungus.
Shop early for best selection.
Most bulbs thrive in either full or partial sun and in almost any location with good drainage. Avoid planting at the base of hills or under drainpipes where water collects and will rot the bulbs.
It's as easy as "dig, drop, done."
Additional Tips for First Time Bulb Planters: