Bulbs are well loved in gardens because of their easy nature and ability to come back as perennial plants. With so many different popular plants grown from bulbs -- daffodils, tulips, lilies, hyacinths, glads and irises -- it's easy to create a perennial garden that will flower from spring through the summer, in a variety of colors, flower shapes, and fragrances.
Many gardeners love adding perennial bulbs to their gardens and flowerbeds due to their repeat performance year after year. Most will flower for years after planting, creating gorgeous color in the landscape with little maintenance from you. When preparing to plant bulbs its best to take some time and make sure you're following these helpful tips.
1. Pick high quality bulbs
High quality flowers come from high quality bulbs. When purchasing your "flower factories" look for specimens that are firm and dry. Avoid buying the smaller bulbs and grab the largest you can find to get the biggest flowers. And leave the ones with soft spots, or mold at the store.
2. Plant at the right time
The planting time for bulbs is directly related to when the plants flower. Early spring flowering bulbs should be planted in the late fall so they are ready to grow as soon as the soil temperatures warm up enough. Bulbs that flower later in the spring or in the summer can wait and be planted in spring when the soil is workable. Dengarden offers some recommendations on when to plant bulbs based upon the different growing zones.
3. Full sun site
Perennial bulbs will do best in full sun locations. Choose a spot in the garden that receives 6 - 8 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight daily.
4. Well drained soil
Bulbs are fleshy tubers under the ground. It's imperative they are planted in well amended, well drained soil so they do not sit in water and mold or rot. To increase drainage capacity of the soil, mix in 3-4" of well decomposed compost or other organic matter.
5. Plant correctly
Planting depth and orientation are important when putting the bulbs in the soil. It's important to make sure the top is oriented upwards towards the sky (if you can't figure out which is the top, it's okay, the plant will naturally push shoots upwards and roots downwards), and according to Breck's bulbs should always be planted two to three times as deep as the bulb is tall.
6. Water sparingly
During the active growing season, water plants with about 1" of water per week. Too much moisture can increase fungal problems or cause the tubers to be too moist and rot. Adding a layer of mulch can help keep the soil damp for longer periods of time between waterings.
7. Remove foliage in fall
As plants prepare to go dormant for the winter, their foliage will begin to yellow and droop. It's best to cut the foliage back to just above the ground at this time, to decrease the chances of disease or fungal problems over the winter or in early spring.