Image Image Image Image Image
© All Year Garden 2010

WordPress Theme – Aware by © Themewich 

Scroll to Top

To Top

advice advice

how to care for bulbs

When you plant bulbs, whether that happens in fall or spring, don’t forget to mix in a good measure of bone meal into the dirt, to help them set in and give them some food for the first year. Other than that, bulbs don’t need a lot of care.

Because they are usually sprinkled among other perennials, they benefit from the regular feedings and waterings that happen throughout the summer. Don’t cut off their unsightly yellowing leaves after their bloom is spent, they still need them to feed the roots for the following season.

Since most bulbs are woodland natives, they like their soil rich in hummus and slightly acidic, and they can tolerate a bit of shade. Don’t plant them in boggy or loose soil, and if you want to keep anything other than your daffodils, and sometimes not even those, place a net over bulbs when you plant them, the squirrels and rabbits are merciless.

The indoor bulbs are quite another story. If you buy spring bulbs for forcing, make sure they are already hardened (kept in cold storage for a few weeks), otherwise they won’t bloom. After planting them, keep them in a cold location, out of direct sunlight, for a month, to prevent them from growing leggy and fragile. When they start blooming, move them back into the sunlight. Either way they will grow too tall inside the house, because they expect an environment with lots of sunlight and temperatures in the fifties. If you have an unheated sun room they’ll probably be happier there, but then you don’t get to enjoy their beautiful flowers.

Tropical winter blooming bulbs are large and need some serious feeding, and despite your best efforts they will be spent in a few years. If the plants thrive, the bulbs will split, and this is both a good thing and a bad thing: the good thing is you get more young plants, the bad thing is that you have to wait until they mature to see them bloom.

When the weather is warm, tropical bulbs benefit from being planted outside in a location with good soil and sunlight, where their growing conditions mimic those of their natural habitat, so if you can put up with the hassle of digging them up and replanting them every spring and fall, do so.