Spring Bulbs vs. Summer Bulbs
Bulbs generally fall into two main categories – spring flowering bulbs and summer flowering bulbs.
Spring flowering bulbs are hardy bulbs and often serve as a first sign of spring when they bloom. They are planted before fall’s first frost and are able to withstand the cold winter months. Most spring flowering bulbs, like daffodils, are able to flower year after year without being replanted.
Summer flowering bulbs are planted after the season’s last frost because they are not able to survive cold and harsh winter conditions. These bulbs, too, can flower year after year, but only if cared for properly. They must be dug up after flowering and becoming dormant, stored indoors over winter and then replanted after the next year’s final frost to be viable.
Spring flowering bulbs include daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths, while summer flowering bulbs include gladiolus, dahlia and canna.
How to Plant Bulbs
The highlight of using bulbs for gardening is the ease of planting them. Bulbs can be planted pretty much anywhere as long as the soil is well drained. Prepare the soil by digging and moving it around so it is workable. Add some compost in and mix it through to provide well-nourished surroundings for the bulb.
Using bulb-specific guidelines plant your bulbs in the soil at their recommended depth. A general rule of thumb is that small bulbs are planted about 5 inches deep, while large bulbs can be planted 8 inches deep. The bulb should be planted with the pointier side up, but don’t worry if you don’t, bulbs are typically able to move themselves upright so they grow and flower.
This is most important – never put fertilizer in the hole with the bulb. Fertilizer is capable of killing the bulb and its roots. Organic fertilizer can be used on the soil outside the bulb’s casing if you deem it necessary.
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