Plant next year's spring-flowering bulbs now

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Last Updated: 
February 19, 2003

Want to get started now on next spring's crop of colorful landscape flowers? You can by planting daffodils, tulips, crocus and other spring-flowering bulbs in late summer or early fall. The bulbs will overwinter in the soil and bloom early next year.

"Remember that bloom size is related to bulb size," said Jan McNeilan, Oregon State University Extension Service consumer horticulture agent. "If large blooms are desired, purchase the larger bulbs."

The feel of the bulbs indicates their quality. Healthy bulbs are firm. Softness indicates dead tissues and a flower bud inside the bulb that may be barely alive.

If planting will be delayed, store the bulbs in a dry area below 65 degrees. High temperatures damage the flower buds.

"You can plant spring-flowering bulbs as late as the holiday season, but the earlier you plant the better chance spring bulbs have of blooming on time in the spring," said McNeilan.

Plant bulbs in well-drained, sandy soil with maximum exposure to sunlight. Plant in clusters with individual bulbs four to five inches apart.

Before planting, work the soil to a depth of 12 inches. Plant tulips six inches deep; crocus, two inches; daffodils, seven inches; grape hyacinths, three inches; and hyacinths, four inches.

Set the bulbs firmly in the ground and press out any air pockets that develop in the soil.

Work in a commercial fertilizer, such as a handful of a 5-10-5 combination for a cluster of three to five bulbs, or two pounds of fertilizer for five feet by 10 feet of area.

Author: Bob Rost
Source: Jan McNeilan