Planting spring flowering bulbs

Now is the perfect time to plant spring flowering bulbs. Are you planning to add some spring color to your yard? If so, read on:

Choose and prepare your site

Bulbs need well drained soil. If the soil doesn’t drain sufficiently, bulbs will rot. A soil pH of 6.0 – 7.0 is recommended for most bulbs. Since much of the soil in Durham has a lower pH, adjustments may be needed. (Have you had your soil tested lately? Pick up your test kits at our office!) Make sure your site has enough light for the type of bulbs you plan to plant, and remove any noxious weeds that may be present.

Choose your bulbs

Do you have deer visiting your yard? If so, you may wish to choose bulbs that are less tasty.

Frequently Damaged
Tulips and Crocus are deer favorites! Neither perennialize well in this area and should be treated like annuals. Summer blooming Lilies are also frequently eaten by deer.
Occasionally Damaged
Grape Hyacinths (Muscari species) and Dahlias are both occasionally browsed by
deer. Both perennialize fairly well in southeastern North Carolina.
Seldom Damaged
Many of the bulbs that come back reliably year after year in this area are also deer
resistant. Spring blooming perennial bulbs include Daffodils, Summer Snowflake
(Leucojum aestivalis), Amaryllis, Scillas, and Ornamental Onions (Allium species).

When buying bulbs, check to make sure they are firm. Nicks and loose skins are not problems, but soft bulbs could be rotting.

Planting
Once you’ve chosen your site and your bulbs, it’s time to get them in the ground. Plant when soil is cool. In NC, November and early December is ideal. Follow the planting recommendations for the proper depth and spacing for your bulbs.

Speaking of planting, have you seen this video by Helen Yoest, from the Triangle Gardener website? This is an excellent demonstration on planting.

Enjoy a more colorful spring!

For more information, please see the following sources:

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/bulbs-perennial/bulletin37/perennial_bulbs.html

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/bulbs-spring/bulletin31/site_select.html

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/bulbs-spring/bulletin31/site_prep.html

http://pender.ces.ncsu.edu/files/library/71/Deer%20Resistant%20Plants.pdf

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-611.html

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