By Scott Gray
Spring flowers are beautiful and when you know that you've done the work yourself, there is a special joy in watching them grow. If you do your homework and plant bulbs that germinate at different times you can enjoy a yard of color the majority of the months throughout the year.
One of the main keys in having quality flowers that come from bulbs is to ensure you effectively prepare the soil. It is important to ensure that the soil is ready for the bulbs and that it has all the correct nutrients your bulbs will need to grow and germinate correctly--even if you are planting your bulbs in a planter, such as a plastic or wooden garden planter.
If you have a lot of clay in your soil, add compost, peat moss or another organic material to help prepare the soil for the bulbs. Make sure that the organic material is worked into the ground or planter at least throughout the top 12 inches of the soil.
Choose your planting location wisely
When you are ready to plant your bulbs, ensure that the area is a good location for the bulbs, such as light, watering, drainage, etc. There are some bulbs and flowers that require full sun, partial, or no sun, so make sure to do your research.
Most summer blooms require full sun while early spring bulbs that may require full sun can be planted under shrubs that have lost their leaves during the winter and still be fine. Be aware that bulbs planted on a slope rather than in a valley will bloom earlier as cold air is heavier so it will take lower lying bulbs longer to grow and germinate.
How much water?
After you plant the bulbs, ensure to water them on a regular basis. Bulbs planted in the fall need time to start rooting, so make sure that they receive enough water but don't overwater it as that can promote bulb rot. Check your climate so you know how much rainfall is naturally received, otherwise you will want to make sure to sprinkle them at least once a week. When planting in a planter, such as a
teak planter, ensure that there is a drainage hole to ensure that there is no overwatering.
Start watering again when the buds first appear if the soil is dry, as you want to make sure the young plants receive enough water. It is important to avoid shallow watering as this will not help the bulbs-since they are planted at least 6-8 inches deep, the water needs to reach at least that far down so make sure the water is on the area long enough to penetrate into the soil. One idea, if you have a long line of bulbs, is to water with a soaker hose to avoid watering the bloom as you flowers emerge and develop.
Pay attention to the type of flowers you are planting as they may require further care after they emerge. Stake the plants such as dahlias and gladioli as they will need extra support in order to stand up without falling over. Put the stakes in when planting the bulbs to avoid damaging the roots and they will be ready for the emerging plant.
Ongoing Care of Your Flower Bulbs
Spring and summer bulbs need to be fertilized to help spur root development. Work in phosphorus into the soil as far down as the bulbs are planted. It is a good idea to mix in bone meal or superphosphate into the lower part of the soil to help provide nutrients and if planting in a bed for more than a year, ensure to add extra fertilizer. Planting your bulbs in a planter is no different than planting in the soil-you still need to ensure that you fertilize the soil.
Make sure not to fertilize spring flowering bulbs after they have started flowering. Summer and fall bulbs should be fertilized monthly from when the shoot first shows till the flower is in full bloom.
In the winter, the area should be covered with a couple of inches of mulch to protect them but the early spring bulbs should not be mulched. The mulching helps to protect the bulbs from extreme winter temperatures but you don't want so much that your plants can't get through in the early spring.
Planting bulbs is a fun gardening experience, whether they're planted in the ground or in your favorite decorative plastic planter. If you do your research you can have flowers from your bulbs that will bloom at almost all times of the year. While bulbs are relatively low maintenance, by taking a few simple steps you can improve the quality and quantity of your flowers.
About the Author:
Scott Gray is a garden enthusiast who loves to relax taking care of his garden. For more information about
container gardening be sure to visit his site