Bulbs for Spring Color
While other areas of the country can only dream of spring now, here we can actually get ready for it by planting bulbs in our yards for spring color. Traditional choices like tulips, iris and daffodil remain classic; consider more unusual selections such as oxalis, allium and fritillaria to give your garden that extra oomph.
- Plant bulbs when nighttime temperatures are between 40 and 50 degrees.
- Bulbs appreciate well-drained soil; so if your bed contains hard clay, amend it with cactus and succulent mix to increase aeration prior to planting.
- Most spring-blooming bulbs appreciate full sun; but others, like fritillaria and snowdrops, thrive in the shade. Keep this in mind when choosing where to plant.
- As a rule of thumb, plant bulbs to a depth about three times their diameter.
- To give bulbs an extra boost, sprinkle just a bit of a high phosphorous fertilizer such as bone meal in the bottom of the hole. This encourages strong root growth.
- After covering with soil, mark where you have planted to avoid disturbing the bulbs.
- If older plantings of bulbs have become overcrowded and tend to flower less, it’s probably time to dig them up and divide them. Do this just after the leaves have died back, as the bulbs enter their dormant period.
Can’t wait until spring? There are a number of winter-blooming bulbs that can liven up your yard this time of year. Beyond staples like paperwhites and amaryllis, try cyclamen or lachenalia. Both make excellent potted specimens on an indoor windowsill, are low-maintenance and bloom throughout the cooler months.
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San Diego, CA 92104