It’s spring and you still haven’t planted your bulbs? Don’t panic, there’s still hope. Several bulb varieties die in winter cold and therefore can only be planted in spring. These are called tender or summer bulbs. Some tender bulbs are elephant’s ear, dahlia, gladiolus, caladium, calla, and canna.
It’s spring and you still haven’t planted your bulbs? Don’t panic, there’s still hope. Several bulb varieties die
in winter cold and therefore can only be planted in spring. These are called tender or summer bulbs. Some tender bulbs are elephant’s ear, dahlia, gladiolus, caladium, calla, and canna.
When buying bulbs, use the same methods you would when buying fruit; choose large, firm ones that will produce the most flowers. Avoid soft or moldy bulbs, although a tiny blemish is nothing to fret about.
Plant summer bulbs soon after the last frost date in your area. The typical planting schedule for summer bulbs are as follows:
- Southern states, February - April
- Middle states, March - May
- Northern states, April - June
It’s critical to plant bulbs at the proper depth. If you plant them too shallow, the new growth may be damaged by late-season cold weather; too deep and the bulbs may bloom late or not at all. The general rule is to dig a hole two-and-a-half times the diameter of the bulb. Just follow the instructions on each package.
1. Make sure your flower bed is well drained. If the drainage is poor, mix in sand or landscape charcoal.
2. Arrange the bulbs on the ground in your desired pattern. Flowers look best when planted in groups and not side by side. Place bulbs closer together for a fuller look. Feel free to check out pictures online for ideas on how to arrange your flower beds.
3. Dig a hole. Set bulbs inside with the pointed or sprout side up.
4. Cover the bulb lightly with soil.
5. Water thoroughly. Summer bulbs require lots of water immediately after planting. Then be sure to keep the soil moist.
6. Cover with a 2” layer of mulch to maintain an even temperature while the bulbs take root. The soil needs to be above 40-degrees for the roots to form.
Tender bulbs will freeze if left in the ground through winter, so it’s important that you dig them up and store them properly. The only exception is for warmer areas in the southern regions. In those cases, a blanket should be enough to protect the bulbs from freezing. For everyone else, dig up the bulbs when the leaves start dying and before the first frost.
- Cut stems to a few inches in length.
- Use a fork or spade to carefully loosen the soil around the plant. Dig a few inches away so you don’t cut off any roots. Gently lift out the bulb.
- Shake off extra soil. Place bulbs on newspaper and air dry for one to three days in a dry, place out of the sun. Drying temperatures should be 60 to 70-degrees.
- Store bulbs somewhere that’s dry and dark with the temperature between 40 to 50-degrees. Bulbs need to breathe so don’t put them in a plastic bag. Instead, poke holes in a paper bag or use a mesh bag. Bulbs can also be stored in a box and covered with peat moss.
- Check the bulbs every month. Moisten those that are shriveling and cut off any rotting material. If the bulb is too rotten you’ll need to throw it away.
Need some help getting your soil ready for planting? Contact TaskEasy for a quote from a local contractor!