One of the joys of gardening
is seeing colorful spring flowers pop up February and March and help
chase away the gray days of winter. Several spring bulbs are very easy
to grow and can return reliably each year. These are the best bulbs for beginners.
Bulbs are basically a
storage device that contains the embryo plant as well as the food the
new plant needs to grow above ground. They give a quick start to
the plant and provide a way of multiplying the planting.
Most bulbs divide when
they grow large enough and also put out small bulblets that can
eventually produce full size plants.
Some people plant bulbs
in beds to provide an early show of bright colors. Others prefer to
place clumps dotted through the yard giving them a natural look. This is known as "naturalizing".
A bulb planter is a garden tool shaped like a hollow cylinder
with a handle for pulling out small clumps of turf so that bulbs can
be added to a yard without much digging.
Spring bulbs are planted
about three times deeper than their diameter. For best results, the
soil should be well prepared since bulbs are a permanent additions to
Bulbs should be planted in groups of three to seven bulbs as
they look more natural in clumps than in rows. Larger groupings are suitable for smaller bulbs.
To keep spring bulbs
flowering and prospering each year, it is important to let the
leaves remain on the plant until they turn brown which usually happens
in early or midsummer. The energy that the green leaves provide
replenish the starches in the bulb and get it ready for the next season.
Video on naturalizing spring bulbs.
Crocus ----very early, Crocus is one of the earliest
flowers to pop up
in the spring, as early as February. About four inches tall, The
blooms are purple,
or white. Crocus is basically care free but it takes a lot of bulbs to
make a fair size display.It will bloom in snow or ice.
--Very reliable, there are varieties of daffodils that will bloom from
very early to late spring and come in sizes up to 18 inches tall.
Narcissus and jonquils are names for the same or similar plants. Colors
are limited to shades of yellow or white. Some varieties have orange inner cups.
Paper white Narcissus are often "forced"
during the winter months indoors by planting in shallow containers of
water and pebbles. The bulbs sprout and produce blooms
using their own stored food reserves.
Daffodils and other Narcissus are poisonous
and are avoided by gophers and most other creatures. The
bulbs tend to gradually multiply over time. The plants should be
allowed to grow as long as the leaves are green. When they turn
brown, around May, the foliage can be mowed or pulled out without
harming the plant. The bulbs can then be safely removed,
divided, and relocated.
Plant daffodils in late summer or fall to a depth of at
least three times their diameter. Group the bulbs with no less
than three together to give a "natural" look.
Grape Hyacinth--Carefree, these 4 inch
tall plants don't make much of a show alone, so grow them a dozen or
more per group. The
flower stalks have blooms resembling a small bunch of grapes. The
multiply by seeds and by division of the bulbs. Start new clumps by
them three inches deep about three inches apart. The leaves are very
and not very attractive lying limp on the ground. They are a very easy flower for beginners.
Tulips --Tulips have the bright colors of spring, but
are not as carefree as some other spring bulbs. Tulips have short
bloom seasons, though
they can look great for a few days.
The bulbs tend to divide after a few seasons and the smaller
plants usually don't bloom, so expect to replace tulips every few
years. Large, quality bulbs will last longer. Planting
bulbs deeper than normal will slow the division of the bulbs.