Imagine a flower that will thrive after six frosty months in the ground, with you not lifting one finger. That’s the glory of spring bulbs. Daffodils, crocuses, tulips, hyacinths, and many more well-known favorites in this category. They’re the ideal entrée for a beginning gardener, because bulbs contain all of the food and nutrients that flowers need to bloom. It’s like a handy little kit for picture-perfect blossoms. If you can dig a hole, you can plant bulbs and enjoy their joyful springtime presence for years to come.
Planting bulbs also puts you in a colorful frame of mind as leaves and trees begin to brown all around you. So it’s not just about investing in the promise of cheer for the spring thaw, but infusing color in your life all year round—exactly what we’re all about here at Heirloom Finds.
It only takes five steps, with hardly any active time.
- Pick your spot.
Bulbs like well-drained soil, and they love sun. Chose an area with well-drained soil that’s not under an evergreen (deciduous trees aren’t a problem, because when your bulb sprouts, the tree most likely won’t yet have its new leaves.)
- Buy your bulbs.
Oftentimes around the early fall, stores offer bags of bulbs for a decent price. If you can find loose bulbs for sale at a hardware or garden supply center, look for daffodil bulbs with a cluster of two: this is really two bulbs joined at one root, but you’ll only pay for one bulb.
A mix of colors in different spots is nice. Petite grape hyacinth adds a splash of purple. Plant groupings of crocus in yellow, purple, and white. And you can get daffodils in a plethora of shades and combinations.
Consider your climate, too. It’s possible to find bulbs bred for warmer areas, and they’re usually planted later in the season—December, or even January.
- Dig your hole.
The rule of thumb is to dig the hole at least three times deeper than the height of the bulb itself. You can either plant lots of individual bulbs here and there, or cluster a group of four to seven bulbs together in one larger hole. If that’s the case, make a hole that’s about a foot and a half across.
Place the bulbs equally spaced in the hole with the stem end up (usually it’s a little pointy) and the root end down (it’s hairy, like the root of an onion.) If you purchased bulbs in a package, the recommended spacing and depth are usually printed on the label.
- Cover it up.
Fill the hole up with dirt, being mindful not to topple the bulbs over, and tamp it down moderately.
If you don’t want to forget where you planted your bulbs, shove a stick in the spot to serve as a subtle reminder. Water thoroughly just after planting if the weather has been dry. But really, that’s it!
Until your bulbs come up in the spring, enjoy the fall, and read up on other gardening tips. We love Barbara Damrosch’s The Garden Primer—it’s our go-to answer book for most any gardening question. And as you’re musing over those flowers-to-be, don’t be afraid to infuse bright colors or floral designs in your cool-weather wardrobe. The weather may be less than bright, but there’s no reason for your style not to bloom!
by Sara Bir