- Author: Lauren Snowden
Spring-flowering bulbs are easy to grow and pack a punch of color to help usher out winter blues. Order your spring-flowering bulbs, now available for purchase in their dormant state through mail order and at local nurseries. Finding the perfect color, height, blooming time and scent can be very exciting, especially with the wide varieties of bulbs available. When purchasing look for heavy, dense bulbs with no decay, mold, or fungus; they should smell fresh, and be free of cuts and bruises.
Bulbs are very versatile and can be planted in flower beds, raised beds, lawns, around trees, lining walkways, in pots or window boxes. Bulbs generally have very few diseases and insects, but can be disturbed by pests such as gophers, ground squirrels and mice.
Bulbs are low maintenance and any gardener can successfully grow bulbs by following these simple steps:
- Use healthy bulbs (plump, firm, fresh smelling)
- Choose a sunny spot with rich well-drained soil
- Plant correctly
- Planting depth (follow the directions)
- Pointy end up (if you are unsure, plant it on its side)
Landscaping with spring bulbs can create interest in the landscape where there is none and bring pops of color and whimsy to porches and patios. Plant bulbs in formal lines, or free flowing groups, play with color choosing multiple colors or choose a striking monochromatic color palette.
Here are a few design ideas to keep in mind when deciding where to plant bulbs:
- Combine bulbs and perennials such as cranesbill geranium or daylilies for a show stopping flowerbed. Almost any perennial or annual combines well with bulbs and can keep your flowerbed looking perky after the bulb bloom is spent.
- Hillsides, tree lines, meadows and areas that are left undisturbed are great for planting swaths or drifts of naturalizing bulbs. Large bold masses of spring blooming bulbs can be enjoyed year after year as the bulbs multiply and spread.
- Get creative in a container by planting different varieties of bulbs in the same containers to create a colorful spring display.
- Choose bulbs that require different planting depths and have different blooming times. Containers will become a living bouquet of color. This technique is referred to as layering or making “bulb lasagna” and is a fun experiment with different combinations of bulbs.
With California's Mediterranean climate bulbs can stay in the ground year round, but may require replacement or division every three to four years depending on overcrowding or poor bloom quality. After blooming scatter a light feeding of fertilizer (5-10-10) over the area and allow foliage to fade until it has yellowed and withered before removal.
Regardless of how you incorporate bulbs into your landscape, bulbs add a pop of color, interest, depth and character. Happy planting!
Spring flowering bulbs, corms, rhizomes, and tubers:
|Bluebell||Hyacinth (Grape Hyacinth)||Snowdrop|
|Calla||Iris (Dutch, Bearded)||Spanish Bell|
|Crocus||Lily (Oriental, Asiatic)||Ranunculus|