Friday, April 3, 2009

Planting Bulbs - Q&A with Susan

We had a comment posted earlier this week from Serene on growing bulbs in Zone 4, specifically in Idaho. I asked our horticulturist Susan for some tips. There are general instructions for tulips are below, with two links that are all about bulbs in Idaho.

Tulips prefer a sandy, well-drained soil in full sun. If your soil is heavy, add compost and peat moss or plant in a raised bed, which will help the soil dry out and will also help raise the temperature of the soil. Plant after the soil has cooled to 60 degrees F (or lower) at 6 inches deep--usually late fall. Cultivate the soil to a depth of one foot and work in some bulb fertilizer. Set the bulbs pointed-end-up about 4 to 6 inches deep (check planting instructions on the package to be sure). In cold winter areas, the planting area can be mulched with 4 to 6 inches of straw or hay for extra protection once the top several inches of soil have been frozen. Tulips flower best the first spring after planting, so many gardeners replant tulips each fall, treating them as annuals. The small-flowered species tulips are an exception. These tulips will naturalize and flower as perennials for many years. Fertilizing all tulips once or twice a year, in fall or early spring, will encourage them to flower well for several years.

Tulips are generally hardy in zones 3 to 7. In warmer areas, tulips would need to be artificially chilled (refrigerate them for 8 weeks at 40 to 45 degrees F) before planting in late fall. Check with your local cooperative extension for advice on the best time to plant.

For our gardening friends in Idaho : Here are some bulbs that are appropriate to Idaho along with planting instructions specific to the state provided by the University of Idaho Extension program.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the tips and the links! I really appreciate it!