With spring around the corner, I am anticipating the bloom of spring-flowering bulbs. If you planted yours in the fall, you should expect to start seeing them in late winter or early spring. There’s nothing like the early color to break up the bleakness of the winter garden.
Daffodils or narcissus come in a variety of color variations – yellows, pinks, oranges, whites, double-flowered, trumpet, and miniature. These flowering bulbs are very easy to plant and care for, and are one of my favorites. Some of these can be pretty fragrant, so if you want cut flowers, be cautious with your selections.
About the only type of soil that is difficult for daffodils to grow in is clay. It’s too wet and will often cause the bulbs to rot. While they prefer well-drained, fertile soil, daffodils can grow in a variety of soil types. If you want the best results, mix your soil with some compost when planting the bulbs.
Plant in the fall, at least 3 or 4 inches deep with the pointed tip pointing up. Bulbs need to be spaced about 3-5 inches apart. If you have good soil, you can just use a bulb planter to dig the hole, mix it up a bit, and then stick the bulb in the ground.
Bulbs multiply, so you’ll need to dig them up every 4-5 years or so to divide them. If you let your bulbs get too crowded, they will stop blooming. This is a great time to trade bulbs with friends and get some new flower colors into your yard.
Daffodils make great cut flowers – they aren’t too fragrant and they bring a little sunshine into your house. They don’t last very long once cut though, and beware of dripping stems.
Planted alone, these aren’t very impressive flowers in my opinion, but they make a very nice companion to miniature yellow daffodils. The color combination is very attractive.
Plant them in the fall, about 3-4 inches deep in clusters for an extra punch of color. However, they need to be about 3 inches apart for best results. The soil should drain well, so you might want to mix in some mulch. Plant the bulb with the pointed side facing up. Planting in full sun or just a little shade works best.
These plants may reseed themselves or the bulbs may multiply, so if overcrowding occurs, you will need to dig them up and separate them or flowering will diminish.
I absolutely love these flowers! The shape of the flower and the rich colors make them a favorite in my garden. You can find bright yellow, white, blue, deep purple, and mixed color irises.
As with all bulbs, well-drained soil is a must – otherwise the bulbs will rot. If you need to, mix in some mulch or peat most into the soil before planting. Dig a hole about 4 inches deep. Plant the bulbs about 2-3 inches apart. Clustering them can provide a nice visual, especially if they are all the same color. Be sure the pointed side of the bulb is planted facing up. Dutch iris prefer full sun.
Although I like the bright colors of the hyacinth, I don’t usually plant these bulbs. The scent of the flower is overpowering to me and because of this, I can not bring them indoors. Also, the heavy flowers tend to tip over, especially in the rain, and we get a lot of winter rain in Mississippi.
Plant the bulbs (pointed side up) in a hole about 4 inches deep. Don’t plant them too deep or the flowers will be stunted. The soil should be well-drained, so you may need to mix in some compost or other organic material. Keep the bulbs about 3 inches apart when planting. Hyacinths grow best in full sun but do fine in part shade.
For those that enjoy forcing bulbs to bloom indoors, the hyacinth is a favorite for that. They make nice displays of color in winter. If you have allergies, I would not recommend using these bulbs indoors.
This is often the first flower to show in the spring. They are small flowers (only 3-6 inches tall) that look best when planted in clustered groups. I have never noticed a scent from these flowers – and they do not make good cut flowers.
I really like the purple, yellow and white flower variations of the crocus (there’s even a striped one!) and the dainty grass-like leaves. They are always a harbinger of spring, so I enjoy seeing them. They don’t seem to last long in Mississippi – perhaps it’s the wet summers, or maybe the flowers just don’t last long in general.
Plant in full sun, spaced about 3-4 inches apart, in holes that are about 4 inches deep. Be sure the soil is well-drained. You may want to mix in some compost, mulch, or peat moss, as needed. Plant the small bulbs with the pointed side facing up. These bulbs are very low maintenance.
It doesn’t get cold enough for tulips here, so generally they are a one-season flower in this part of the U.S.. In northern states, where tulips don’t have to be dug up each year to be chilled, they can be perennial. While these are pretty flowers, it just seems like too much work to me for one season only.
They also make good indoor flowers for wintertime and can be forced to bloom to provide winter color. The bulbs must be chilled for about 6-8 weeks in temperatures around 45 to 50 degrees. Put them in a paper bag in your fridge – but be sure to keep them away from fruit which releases a gas that may harm the bulbs. Plant the bulbs in a clay pot and place it in a window. Plant as many bulbs as you can in one pot, but make sure that they don’t touch each other. More flowers in a pot makes for a really nice display. Don’t overwater and enjoy the flowers.
Keep the Leaves
When your bulbs are finished flowering, don’t cut the leaves back immediately. The leaves will continue to store energy and resources in the bulb for next year’s use. Only when the leaves begin to turn yellow and brown should you cut them back. If you’re not sure if it’s time, pull gently on the leaves. If they come off of the bulb easily, it’s safe to trim them back.