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Planting bulbs is relatively straightforward. Dig a hole, drop in a bulb, and cover it with dirt. Well, at least it's almost that easy. To get them off to a good start, follow these bulb-planting tips:
The Bulb Planter: This cylindrical hand-held tool is designed specifically for planting bulbs. Simply push it into the ground and pop out a soil core. Bulb planters come in handy if you're doing a large planting, but they are difficult to use in compacted soils. Most have depth measurements stamped on the side of the cylinder.
The Dibber (also called the dibble): The beauty of the dibber lies in its simplicity. Shaped like a carrot, it's only job is to poke holes in the dirt. A dibber is a great choice for planting small bulbs but can be difficult to use in compacted soils.
One year, my mother was given a potted Easter lily. After the blooms were spent and shriveled, she gave me the plant, to do with as I liked.
I lifted the plant from the soil and cut away all foliage to a point near the top of the bulb. Next, with a sharp, clean knife, I quartered the bulb from top to bottom. I gently separated the resulting layers of each quarter, making sure a bit of the bulb base was still attached to each piece. I filled three or four terra cotta pots with a good, loose soil, and planted these pieces to about half their height. I kept them moderately moist, never wet, never dry.
Within a couple weeks, there were signs of new growth stemming from the base of each piece. Granted, it would be three or four years before these pieces grew into bulbs of blooming size. Still, I thought it a good investment. With very little effort, I turned one Easter lily bulb into fifty.
This, or a similar procedure, can be used to increase the stock of many type bulbs, and onions are no exception. The pictures show the core of an onion which I removed and then quartered. I placed these quarters in soil, making sure that just the base of the bulb was covered.
Placing these plants in a sunny window or under gro lights, and keeping the soil moderately moist will almost insure new growth within a week. The plants pictured will be the perfect size to transplant into the garden by the time the last frost has come and gone. Yes, that fourth piece is a little slow, but it has rooted and will be along, shortly.
Another good investment; delicious, sweet, homegrown, and free, yellow onions.
With spring finally here, it's time to get outside and plant some flowers, vegetables and bulbs. I usually forget what I have planted where.
When planting your spring bulbs it's almost impossible to remember exactly where you planted them. Buy a box of straws and stick them in the soil above the bulbs, leave 2" showing above the soil. I planted pink straws with my tulips, yellow straws with my daffodils and so on.
For years, I have used this pencil for measuring the depth to plant small bulbs like these freesias. The tiny ones need to go in 1 inch and the larger ones at 2 inches.
If you have different varieties and colors of flowering bulb, make stakes out of old miniblinds and write the color and type on the stake. It is always harder to remember the type and color after they bloom.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
When is the best time to plant bulbs, in September or October?
Hardiness Zone: 5a
By debbie johnson from WI
Don't plant your spring blooming bulbs until after the the 2nd frost in your area otherwise they might try to bloom in late fall and you could mess up their cycle.
What are your tips for growing and saving money on bulbs? Please post them below.
Trade bulbs with friends, neighbors and family. Especially good when someone is dividing their Iris plants up.
When can you plant a scilla flower bulb?
I live in zone 9 and really want to grow callas. Can I start them indoors to get a good start now (January 1) for spring planting? We get a few days of freezing and have already lost quite a few bulbs planted outside in summer.
Bulbs are a wonderful addition to your landscape, they will multiply and provide beautiful colors, shapes, and fragrances in your garden for years to come. Planting dozens of bulbs can seem a bit overwhelming at first. Read the following article for tips on buying and planting bulbs.
This is a page about planting bulbs indoors. Bulbs can be grown indoors so that they bloom early, often in time for the holiday season.
This is a page about digging up and storing tender bulbs. While some plants that grow from bulbs, corms, or tubers do well in colder zones during the spring and summer, they may need to be overwintered to save them for next year.
This is a page about fall planting guide for spring bulbs. To have beautiful flowering bulbs in the spring you will want to plant them in the fall.
This is a page about how to naturalize bulbs. Naturalizing your bulbs in the lawn and scattered about your garden presents a very pleasing, less formal effect.
This is a page about extending the life of your tulip bulbs. Choosing the right bulbs, garden soil and location, as well as year around care can help extend the life of your tulip bulbs.
This is a page about forcing bulbs. Many gardeners enjoy forcing bulbs indoors, allowing them to enjoy beautiful flowers long before they would bloom in the spring.
This is a page about growing summer blooming bulbs. Warm soil and sunny summer days are the perfect conditions for the emergence of the summer blooming bulbs, such as: calla, crocosmias, gladioli, and dahlia.
This is a page about forcing bulbs in winter. Forcing bulbs in winter is easy to do and helps bring a bit of spring to your home early.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Hardiness Zone: 8a
Teresa from Burgaw, NC
You can plant several bulbs in a dish on top of stones or in soil and have an early spring in the house, when they are done, I plant them in the garden for many years of spring flowers. I never dig them up and they reproduce each year. If you must plant them in the spring put them in asap and you may get flowers this year but will for sure next year. If you leave them to next fall, you will not have any bulbs to plant they will be dead. So have a lovely indoor spring and later an outdoor one as well. susan from hamilton (02/02/2005)
By Susan from Hamilton
Don't wait for spring. If the ground is not frozen plant them as soon as possible. If the ground is frozen where you are, plant them as soon as the ground thaws. In the mean time store them in a cool dry place. A refrigerator works well. Depending on when you get them in the ground, they may or may not bloom this spring but if you don't plant them and they dry up they definitely won't bloom, ever.
Most bulbs need a "cooling period" in order to bloom and depending on how you have them stored now and when you get them in the ground and the amount of cold weather left before spring will determine what happens. I planted some bulbs a few years ago in January and they bloomed about 3-4 weeks later than the others planted years before. In the next years they bloomed at the regular time.
If you have squirrels where you live put down chicken wire over your planting bed and then cover with mulch. This will keep the critters from digging and eating your bulbs.
I would like to start planning on planting my bulbs. Where is a good source to get info on the types of bulbs? Do bulbs only bloom in the spring? Are there any summer and fall blooming bulbs? Thanks so much. I love this site!
Hardiness Zone: 6b
I used to get a lot of great info from Dave's Garden. You can google it (06/11/2010)
By Marty Dick
Depending on what kind of bulbs you are referring to. Some people call corms bulbs, too. Michigan Bulb Co, Gurney's, etc. all have the info as well as your state extension office. Google (state) extension service. You will have all sorts of answers for all your growing questions. (06/12/2010)
By Grandma J
Hardiness Zone: 6b
Chas from WV
Tulip and crocus bulbs can both be planted in the fall, lily bulbs and iris tubers in the spring or fall. Iris tubers are planted just below the soil surface (about 2 inches), so if you plant them in the spring, the roots have enough time to get established and you stand less of a chance of losing them due to winter heaving. If you to plant them in the fall, give them plenty of time to establish their roots before winter (July-October).
Tulips are planted about 6 inches below the soil surface and look best when planted en masse rather than individually.
For crocus bulbs, dig holes 2 to 3 inches deep. If you are planting a lot of crocuses, dig shallow trenches. Leave 2 to 4 inches between bulbs.
Plant lilies in groups of three or five bulbs, with each bulb spaced 8-12 inches apart. Space the different groups of bulbs three to five feet apart from each other. Small lily bulbs can be planted two to four inches deep and large bulbs four to six inches deep.
All of these bulbs prefer full sun and nutrient-rich, well-drained soil.
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Depending on your location, you may plant many different bulbs at different times of the year. To avoid planting a bulb in a spot where there is already a bulb use Popsicle sticks to mark the locations of the bulbs when you plant them. I use colored sticks so I know which flowers I planted and where in the garden.
By Susan (07/01/2005)