A Beginners Guide To Planting Spring Bulbs

Fall is a great time to plan your spring garden and there isn’t a better way than planting spring flowering bulbs.

Hardy bulbs like daffodils, tulips and hyacinth are just a few varieties of bulbs that can be planted in the fall when the soil temperature cools.
When choosing bulbs be selective. Make sure the bulbs are firm and not soft, or have a moldy white powdery coating. Bulbs with mold are not healthy or viable and should be discarded.
Plant in a sunny location, most bulbs prefer full sun to part shade. Even the healthiest plants don’t have a chance for survival if they are not planted in the proper location.
When planting know which end is up and how deep. Some of the most common mistakes made when planting bulbs is not planting the bulbs with the right side up and at the right depth.
Always plant with the pointed side up and flat side in the earth. Most bulbs have dried roots showing on the bottom.
Dig hole for bulbs 2-3 times the size of the bulb, if bulb 3″ plant 6-9″ deep. By 6″- 12″ wide. There are exceptions to the rule do always check the recommendations on the package.
Prepare the soil by adding organic matter. By adding compost you are helping to condition and add nutrients to the existing soil.
Protect bulbs by adding a layer of chicken wire over top of bulbs. Cover with soil and add 2-3″ layer of mulch. This will help keep squirrels and rabbits from digging up what you have already planted.
Don’t forget to water in the bulbs. Bulbs are plants too. They need light and water just like your other plantings.
But keep in mind to water on the light side. Bulbs sitting in cold wet soil for a long period of time can lead to rotting and decay, thus resulting in no spring blooms.

Tips For Overwintering Tender Bulbs

Tips for lifting tender bulbs such as Canna, Dahlia, Colocasia etc. before first frost. 

Cut off any top foliage at the crown and dig bulbs up from the ground and remove any excess soil. 

Allow bulbs to dry out thoroughly.  

Once bulbs have dried place in a brown paper with peat moss.

Store bulbs in a cool dry location, where temps do not get below freezing. Temps ranging in the forties are ideal.

Keep away from warm temps and light to allow bulbs to remain dormant till next spring.

Overwintering Tropicals, No Greenhouse Required

IMG_0085As a horticulturalist and avid grower of many types of plants I am always sad to see, the end of the growing season.  The threat of frost or hard freeze is always looming as we approach the late days of October which makes me feel anxious to take inventory of my tropical plant collection and prepare the indoors for their long winters stay.  I don’t have a greenhouse, nor a sunroom,but that doesn’t stop me from bringing in all my favorite tropical houseplants and succulent gardens.

Follow the Sun
Take note of where the sun plays upon the rooms in your home.  Most tropicals prefer warm, bright surroundings.  Bright light with temps in the 60 -70 degree range during the day is ideal.  Temperatures above 80 degrees can cause poor air circulation, which can lead to insect problems down the road.
Cut back any plants that are too tall.

Be Selective
Try and be selective when deciding what plants you want to over winter.  For example, take serious inventory of your potted tropicals. Bring in only what you have room for.  If you are overwintering hibiscus decide if that plant will have enough light to continue actively growing and flowering during the winter.  If not consider cutting the plant back approximately 1/3 and let it go dormant.  If you are considering bringing in annuals, like geraniums, lantana, or coleus, find the sunniest location and modestly cut back, and or take cuttings from them. Tropical foliage plants are great to over winter, because they enhance the beauty and air quality in your home.  Succulents are the easiest to maintain and can adapt to, not only bright light indirect, but moderate light as well.
Allow plants to dry thoroughly between each watering.  Allowing plants to dry out minimizes fungus gnat problems.  Be sure to hose down the plants with water and add a granular systemic to the soil every 4-6 weeks to ensure your plants stay happy and healthy.
Overwintering tropicals can be a fun project for the winter months.  It will keep your hands in the soil and your passion for gardening the entire year.

My Indoor Gardening tips on Sheknows

Sheknows.com asked me my top tip for gardeners short on space.  IIMG_1516 enthusiastically replied, gardening with edibles! Click here to read about it, http://www.sheknows.com/home-and-gardening/articles/1081674/indoor-gardening-hacks-if-youre-short-on-space