When to Plant Bulbs – Planting Guide 2021

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when to plant bulbs

Filling a garden bed or a pot with bulbs is such an easy task that even a beginner gardener can accomplish within a couple of months. Make sure you follow these tips for planting bulbs!

When to plant bulbs? A general rule is to plant spring-flowering bulbs during early fall; summer-flowering bulbs should be planted in early spring, and fall flowering bulbs prefer to be planted during late summer.

Yet, this depends on your growing zone, the type of bulb you choose to plant, and sometimes, even the type of soil you have.

Bulbs are not only easy to plant, but they will look incredibly well in any area. Check your hardiness zone in order to see what types of bulbs you must plant!

Choosing Bulb Seeds

choosing bulb seeds

If you decide to plant bulbs in your garden, make sure you know what type of bulb you are growing, as this term is often used when talking about different kinds of bulbs.

In fact, bulbs can be further classified as true bulbs, rhizomes, corms, tubers, and even plants with tuberous roots.

Types of bulbs

Bulbs are often classified as tender bulbs or hardy bulbs. Tender bulbs will do best in warmer climates, whereas hardy bulbs will thrive in colder climates.

Tender bulbs

They are also referred to as summer bulbs because they bloom throughout the summer and sometimes during the fall. These types of bulbs should be planted in the spring.

Additionally, they can be further divided as follows:

  • Tubers: caladiums and anemones are the most common types.
  • Tuberous roots: some begonias could fall into this category. Dahlias are also included.
  • Corms: such as gladioli is included within this variety.

Hardy bulbs

These bulbs should be planted in the fall, as they will survive even the lowest of soil temperatures experienced throughout winter. They tend to flower during spring:

They can be further divided as follows:

  • True bulbs: bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths are included in this category.
  • Corms: fall crocuses are a perfect example.
  • Rhizomes: cannas and bearded irises belong to this type of bulb.

Choosing healthy bulbs

  • If the bulb looks withered or moldy, you must discard it immediately, as it could potentially affect other plants.
  • As a general rule, the larger the bulb, the more flowers your garden will have, as the bulb will produce more.
  • In warmer climates, it is possible to find pre-chilled bulbs to kickstart the bulb’s growth. If you decide to purchase these, you could be going ahead of the game by having a healthy bulb chosen by a professional.
  • If you decide to pre-chill the bulbs, then do not store them next to fruit or vegetables inside the fridge or freezer.

This is because fruits (like apples and pears) emit ethylene gas, which is actually a fruit and vegetable hormone that regulates how fast the food will ripe.

As a result, if you place them next to the bulbs, the fruits or vegetables could harm or even kill the young plants starting to develop within the bulb.

How to Grow Bulbs

how to grow bulbs

These tips for planting will help you prolong your bulbs’ bloom time.

Site selection

  • Ideally, you will choose a planting site that offers at least six to seven hours of direct sunlight each day, as most bulbs need this amount of sun exposure in order to bloom.
  • A general rule is to have well-drained soil; otherwise, the roots could root if the plant has been overwatered.
  • Additionally, older bulbs will need more sunlight, as they are very dependent on soil temperatures too. These bulbs should receive more than eight hours a day of direct sunlight.
  • The depth of planting the bulb will depend on the bulb itself. Generally speaking, the depth should be at least three times the diameter of the bulb. This will give enough room for the bulb to grow accordingly.

Mulching

Adding mulch during winter and early spring will protect the plants from freezing conditions. However, this mulch should be removed to encourage the bulb to grow.

Fertilizing

You can purchase or make your own organic fertilizer that contains nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.

It would be best if you fertilized once or twice a month. Yet, this will depend on the type of bulb you are planting and its particular maintenance requirements.

Staking

Some bulbs will require staking, especially when you only plant a few. Alternatively, if you add more bulbs, they will protect one another against strong winds.

Deadheading

Deadheading is necessary when the flowers begin to fade. By doing this, you limit the plant from forming seeds. As a result, the plant will store more energy that will be later used for prolonging its bloom time.

Pruning

One of the essential parts of this plant is its foliage. Most bulbs have green leaves with a particular function: they produce the plant’s food for its next growing season.

In other words, the plants need this foliage to bloom during the following year. Once the leaves turn yellow, they should be removed to prevent pests or diseases.

Protecting the bulbs

Some bulbs are more susceptible to rodents than others. You can situate some chicken wire around the plants in order to protect them from these unwanted visitors.

Yet, bulbs such as daffodils are usually avoided by rodents, and they add a beautiful touch to any garden.

How to Water Bulbs

Water the bulbs as soon as you plant them. Average rainfall will usually provide the necessary water requirements for these types of plants.

However, if you live in a dry area or if your location is going through a particularly dry season, then you must water the plants once every other week.

How to Plant Bulb Seeds

This planting guide will make your life easier! Follow these simple steps and have a beautiful garden:

Step 1: Choose your ideal area and prepare the soil. Ideally, it should be well-drained, loose, and filled with organic matter such as compost.

Step 2: Make a hole at least three times the size of the chosen bulb. Add the organic fertilizer to help the soil and bulb thrive.

Step 3: Place the bulb with its pointy side upwards. Slightly cover it with soil and mulch. Water it immediately.

Step 4: Enjoy the process and growing season!

How long do Bulbs take to grow?

This is very subjective as it all depends on different factors, such as climate, the bulb’s hardiness, and type, and even luck.

Usually, if the right growing conditions have been met, you can expect to see some growth 12 to 15 weeks after planting.

Keep in mind that you need to have patience when it comes to growing bulbs as they won’t offer instant gratification to gardeners. Yet, once you succeed at growing them, you will not be able to stop smiling!

What is the best month to plant Bulbs?

Some months are better for planting bulbs than others, but this will depend on the hardiness zones and whether you are planting tender or hardy bulbs.

Spring-blooming bulbs

They need to be exposed to low temperatures (40° Fahrenheit or colder) to go through a pre-chilling adaptation period to break their dormancy stage.

Once they are exposed to this temperature for at least 12 weeks, they will begin their growing journey.

  • Gardeners in USDA zones 1 – 4 should plant their bulbs from August to mid-September.
  • Gardeners in USDA zones 5 – 7 should plant their bulbs in early September or October, as soon as they realize that the temperature during the day has dropped considerably.
  • Gardeners in USDA zones 8 – 11 should purchase pre-chilled bulbs, as their climate is more challenging when growing these types of bulbs.

Summer-blooming bulbs

  • Gardeners in USDA zones 1 – 4 should plant their bulbs in late spring or even early summer once the climate warms up. This could be in late April or early May.
  • Gardeners in USDA zones 5 – 7 should plant their bulbs during late March or early April, although it will depend on the climate conditions.
  • Gardeners in USDA zones 8 – 11 should plant their bulbs in early spring, more specifically in early March.

Fall-blooming bulbs

The most important thing to note is that the fall-blooming bulbs are dormant throughout the summer. Thus, most of them should be planted in the late summer; although, this will depend on the growing area.

  • Gardeners in USDA zones 1 – 4 should plant their bulbs in late spring or early summer once the climate warms up. This could be in late May or early June.
  • Gardeners in USDA zones 5 – 7 should plant their bulbs during late June or early July, although it will depend on the local climate conditions.
  • Gardeners in USDA zones 8 – 11 should plant their bulbs in late spring or early summer, more specifically in early June.

Conclusion

If you would like to have a garden filled with beautiful and colorful flowers, then you must plant some bulbs.

Not only will they make any garden look better than ever, but they are also effortless to maintain. Happy digging!

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