Still Time To Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs This Fall

There’s still time to get those spring-flowering bulbs in the ground yet this fall. Though generally it is recommended to get the bulbs planted by early October to give them enough time to root before winter, it is better to plant now rather than try to store the bulbs over winter. As long as the soil temperatures are above 40 degrees F., the bulbs should continue their root development.

Most garden centers still have a supply of crocus, daffodils, tulips, and other spring-flowering bulbs. While the best quality bulbs may already be gone, you can often find good bargains on what’s left at the end of the season. Select large, firm bulbs and avoid those that are sprouting or molding.

While many bulbs can adapt to a wide range of soil types, none can tolerate poorly drained soil. Prepare the planting bed by adding organic matter such as peat moss, well-rotted manure, or compost. Adequate fertility can be achieved by adding a low analysis, balanced fertilizer such as 5-10-5 or 6-10-4 at the rate of 2-3 pounds per 100 square feet of bed. Mix all amendments thoroughly with the soil before you plant the bulbs.

The size of the bulb and the species will dictate how deep to plant. In general, the depth to the bottom of the bulb should be about 2-3 times the size of the bulb, but check the planting instructions specific to each particular flower.

For more information on the many types of bulbs that can be grown in Indiana, contact your local county office of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service and ask for a copy of HO-86, Flowering Bulbs, also available online at http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-86.pdf.

 


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