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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Spring Flowering Bulbs!

You may see spring flowering bulbs for sale now in the grocery or nursery outlets and think its time to plant them now but wait! Before you dig down into our heavy clay soil in 90 degree weather, give your bulbs a little chill in the fridge. It is too hot to plant them now anyway.

Because we live in a temperate climate it benefits those bulbs from Holland to have more chill.

Refrigerate bulbs in a paper bag for 6-8 weeks and plant them in the early part of November
when the heat has passed. Just don't forget they are in there!

Use a bit of bonemeal or bulb food in the holes or trenches when you plant them and mix in food with the soil. Be sure and put them pointy end up. Bulbs should come with instructions for planting depth.
Spring Flowering Bulbs are watered by the rain so do not need irrigation and the Deer don't eat a lot of them. I don't think Gophers like them that much either. I love bulbs because they are a great surprise in the spring. I may have forgotten all about planting them and then they pop-up.
If you already have bulbs in the ground dont worry about digging them up for chilling in the fridge- that is too much work! In our clay soil some may rot out over time but they usually last very well except for Tulips which don't come back very well. I have had good luck with species tulips which can be found through a bulb grower i.e. Van Engelen (great prices too!).
In the spring leave the leaves on until they wither to replenish the bulbs for the next year.The best repeat bloomers for our area are: Grape Hyacinth, Daffodils, Freesias, Ipheon, Leucojum and regular Hyacinths. Hyacinths and some Daffodils are fragrant too. Don't be afraid to use lots. Plant in groups between low plants and enjoy winter and spring color for many years.


  1. I'm glad you're blogging! I'm going to plant bulbs this weekend. Question: do you need to prune them/cut to the ground after the flowers have died off?

  2. Hi JennieB- Just found your comment! Can you believe it- 6 monthes later! Never too late to answer this question though. Leave the leaves! I usually prune the dead flower heads off but you need to leave the leaves till they wither so they can feed the bulb for next year. Then cut off. I am just getting to this since they are dying off now. I don't dig up my bulbs but do need to add more later if they rot out (not a big problem). Have fun and am sorry to be so slow in getting back to you. Am still learning the ins and outs of blogging!