Spring Bulb

Justin W. Hancock

Planting Bulbs

The days are getting shorter and temperatures are (finally!) cooling down. That means it’s time to plant spring-blooming bulbs!

Most of us are familiar with big showy ones such as tulip, daffodil, and hyacinth. But don’t overlook the littler ones.

Like the Siberian squill shown here, most of the little bulbs are great because they put on a bigger, better show every year as the bulbs multiply.

They’re perfect for adding a dose color underneath a groundcover such as lamium, barren strawberry, or vinca — don’t worry; bulbs can push their way up between the leaves.

My favorite way to use the littler bulbs, though, is to plant them in my lawn for a super dose of early spring color. (Plus, I never have to worry about accidentally digging them up when I’m adding new plants in my garden over the summer.) Most years the bulbs’ foliage begins to fade around the time I mow for the first time so I’m not really hurting them by cutting my grass.

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Justin W. Hancock

This End Up

One of my friends is getting more and more excited about gardening. She bought her first batch of spring-blooming bulbs this year and was really excited to start 2010 with a show of tulips, daffodils, anemones, and crocus.

All was well until I got a worried call from her. She said she wasn’t sure how to plant the bulbs and how deep to plant them.

If you’ve run into this question, there’s happily a pretty easy answer.  Plant most spring bulbs about three times deeper than the bulb is tall. So if you have a 3-inch-tall tulip, you’ll want to plant it about 9 inches deep.

And as far as which way to plant, the pointy side is generally up. For types that don’t have a point, plant them on their side — they’ll send their roots down and their shoots up.