Easy Tips for Spring Bulb Planting

You have combed the bulb catalogs. You have planned out your spring gardens. You have placed the orders or picked up bulbs from your local nursery. Your bulbs are here and ready to plant, and you want them to be spectacular next spring! Here are some tips to make sure your bulbs make it through the winter, safe and sound, ready to break ground when the thaws arrives.

  • Dig a hole or trench large enough for several bulbs. Bulbs are most effective when planted in bunches. In small gardens, groupings of 6 to 12 are effective; in large gardens, use groups of 12 to 24.
  • Bulb size dictates how deep to plant. As a rule, plant large bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and alliums about 8 to 12 inches deep; set smaller bulbs such as crocus and snowdrops 4 to 6 inches deep.
  • Space large bulbs 3 to 6 inches apart and small ones 1 to 2 inches apart. If you’re confused about which end is up – this can be the case with tubers such as windflowers – just place them sideways and they will right themselves!
  • If you have trouble with the local wildlife digging up your bulbs as an early winter snack, cover the planting with chicken wire to discourage digging.
  • Cover bulbs with soil and water generously. Later, when the ground cools you can apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch to the surface, such as compost, well-rotted manure, shredded bark or chopped up leaves. This helps to prevent soil from drying out and to help keep temperatures stable through the winter.
  • At planting time, you don’t actually need to apply fertilizer, as the bulbs have already been fattened up for bloom. However, if you’d like the bulbs to thrive for a number of seasons, enrich the soil in the planting area with good organic compost or well-rotted cow manure worked into the soil when planting. You can also use a slow-release bulb food when planting, like BulbTone, or simple bone meal. This will give your bulbs a little snack when they wake up next spring!
  • And if you'd like a little more visual instruction, tune in to 'Pointes of Horticulture' on Comcast Cable Channel 5 & 915, AT&T Channel 99 and WOW Channel 18- next week's shows are all about planting your spring bulbs! Check the Grosse Pointe War Memorial website for dates and times: http://www.warmemorial.org/wmtv/wmtv-schedule/

These simple steps will give your bulbs the best chance to come out of hiding in the spring with a colorful welcome to spring!