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top ten tips to care for your bulbs

by dig the dirt editor


Bulbs are a pretty forgiving bunch. All you really have to do is dig a hole, toss them in, and replace the soil. But to keep your bulbs happy and healthy for years to come, use our top ten list of care tips!



how to plant bulbs in warm climates | how to plant a bulb | the bulb hub







#10:  Fall is the season.

  • Fall is the time to plant your bulbs.  As soon as you receive them, get them in the ground.  Otherwise, they may begin to dry out and that will mean you may have less of a flower show in the spring.


#9: This bed's just right...

  • If Goldilocks were a bulb, she'd be looking for a bed that was made of well-drained, sandy, humus-rich soil.  Bulbs just hate too much moisture (and they'll prove it by rotting and never producing a bloom). 
  • If the bulb bed is too wet, add sand or peat moss to the soil to encourage drainage.


#8: Let the sun shine in!

  • Most bulbs need full sun to perform their best. 
  • Some bulbs, however, such as narcissus, muscari and anemones do well in light shade. 


#7: Don't deep six your bulbs.

  • As a general rule, large bulbs like standard narcissus and tulips should be planted 8" deep. 
  • Smaller bulbs like crocus and scilla should be planted 4" deep. 
  • If you plant them too deep it will make their job harder; planting them too shallow may mean they won't come up in the spring!


#6: Know up from down.

  • This isn't a gravity issue; it's a bulb issue.  Although you can plant bulbs upside down, you might as well not confuse them and plant them in launch position. 
  • The rule is- the pointy side goes up and the hair like roots go down.


#5: A good bedtime snack.

  • Bulbs do not florish on soil alone.  We recommend you fertilize them at planting time (and again early each spring before they set blooms). 
  • Choose a bulb fertilizer that provides a combination of organic slow-release nutrients necessary for proper root development.


#4: Cover up.

  • After you have planted your bulbs, add a thick cover of mulch to insulate them for their wonter's sleep. 
  • Mulch also helps regulate the soil temperature, so if there's unseasonably warm weather in January, your bulbs won't start blooming, only to be nipped in the bud by the return of winter weather.


#3: Do a little deadheading.

  • Deadheading, or clipping the bulb bloom, is how the bulb producers create top size bulbs.  After you bulbs bloom in the spring, clip the top inch of the flower stem so the bulb uses its energy to increase its bulb size, not set seeds.


#2: Leave the leaves.

  • Although clipping the flower stem helps bulbs increase their size, removing the leaves will do just the opposite.  Always let the foliage die back naturally. 
  • To avoid having to view dying foliage all summer, plant your bulbs around later-blooming perennials whose foliage will disguise the ripening bulb leaves. 
  • Once the leaves are yellow and wilted, they can be clipped and removed.


#1: You pesky wabbit.

  • If the rodents in your neighborhood are feasting on your bulbs then you have to play hardball.  Protect them by layering chicken wire on top of the ground where they are planted. 
  • Some bulbs such as narcissus, galanthus, and erythronium are good to plant as they are not a treat for those rodents


care tips for bulbs, fall, Bulbs