Bulb Planting Time
For a dash of color in your garden next spring,
plan your spring flowering bulb garden now. Make your bulb
purchases as soon as they are available in the garden centers.
They are arriving even as you are reading this. Early selection
will provide you with bulbs that are in prime condition. The
shelf life of many spring flowering bulbs is short, especially
when kept under store conditions of low humidity and high
A good rule of thumb is to place the base of
the bulb at a depth in the soil 2- to 3-times the height of
the bulb. Select a well?drained area when planting bulbs.
If the area is too damp, or poorly drained to grow good grass,
don't plant bulbs there.
An application of slow?release fertilizer to
the bed area is very helpful. Use a slow-release fertilizer
at 3 to 4 pounds per 100 square feet of bed area.
There are several groups of bulbs to consider
for fall planting. One of the most popular includes the narcissus
group. By far the most adapted in this group are the white
cluster flowering Narcissus tazetta varieties (including paperwhites),
and the yellow cluster flowering Narcissus jonquilla varieties
(including Jonquils). However, without a doubt, the most popular
type of narcissus is the golden, trumpet?shaped daffodil (Narcissus
There are very few daffodils that will naturalize
(bloom year after year without replanting) in this area. Fortune,
with it's large, yellow orange cup, is the only narcissus
proven to naturalize in this area. The most commonly sold
King Alfred DEFINITELY DOES NOT naturalize! You may want to
try some other daffodils that ARE said to naturalize in this
area. Try Carlton (yellow cup), Ice Follies (white), Mount
Hood (white) or most any of the jouquilla, tazetta or species
Try to choose the earliest blooming varieties
possible for the best naturalizing results. Early blooming
allows the plants to develop and mature its foliage before
hot, dry conditions begin. Without proper foliage development
and maturation, there will be no blooms the following year.
You can check for these varieties at local nurseries, or mail
order these bulbs from the following sources:
The Daffodil Mart
Route 3, Box 794
Gloucester, Virginia 23061
43 East Garza Road
Carmel Valley, California 93924?9450
Because tulip blooms do not persist very long
in the hot temperatures of spring, tulips are probably the
worst possible bulb choice for this area of Texas. Chilling
in cold storage at 40 degrees F. (refrigerator hydrator) for
60 or more days is necessary for most tulip varieties, except
for the Clusiana tulip also known as Lady tulip or Candystick
tulip. Plant as soon as you remove them from storage in mid?January.
Anemones are small bulbs (actually, tubers
rather than bulbs) are easy to grow and thrive in any garden
soil. Anemones demand a rather shallow planting of 1-1/2 to
2 inches deep, and from 4 to 6 inches apart. Plant anemones
in well-prepared soil in October and November. In our area,
anemones are treated strictly as annuals. There are 2 commonly
grown types of anemones: the St. Bridget, which has semi?double
blooms, and the De Caen type, which has the single, poppy?like
The Ranunculus, or companion plant of anemone,
is also a tuber or claw?like root. Because it is also small,
it demands a shallow planting as does the anemone. Ranunculus
also will not return the following year.
The Dutch iris, the early bird of the spring garden, is
a small bulb which should be planted in October to perform
well during its general blooming period in mid-to-late March.
Although the flowers are normally smaller, Dutch iris frequently
returns each year.
Other spring-flowering bulbs include hyacinths, which receive
pre-chilling, as well as snowflakes and byzantine gladiolus,
which can be planted immediately.