Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Basic Gardening Tips for Bulbs

BULBS ARE: A general name for "true bulbs" (such as Tulips), as well as tubers (Begonias), corms (Crocus) and rhizomes (Iris). Some of them look different but they all store up food inside themselves in the ground, kind of like their own storage place.

WHEN: Know when to plant the bulb: if it is a Spring blooming bulb, plant in the Fall; if it is a Fall blooming bulb, plant in Spring. If you purchase your bulbs from a local nursery, ask one of the garden staff if you are unsure of when to plant. Usually you can find the information on the package, planting stake or from a garden book.

PLANTING: Remember to follow directions in planting your bulbs at the right depth in the ground. Planting Iris too deeply sometimes keeps the plants from blooming. You can purchase a dauber tool in garden sections which helps to measure the depth while you plant. Otherwise, use a trowel (it's like a small hand shovel) and figure out how deep you push the end of the trowel into the ground.

WATERING: Make sure you water the bulbs even through Winter, bulbs need water just like regular plants.

LEAVES: Always keep bulb leaves on the plant until they yellow and fade back. Bulbs gather their food and fuel for next year's bloom this way. If the leaves are unsightly, tie them back or plant larger Annuals nearby to cover the fading leaves. Most bulbs do not need fertilizer. There are exceptions, such as Iris, which need to be fertilized a few times a year.

DIVIDING: After a few years you may notice less flowers from your bulbs. They may need dividing. Read about that particular plant and how you have to dig up the plant. Find out the best time to do this from a gardening book. You may be surprised at the new smaller bulbs that are growing around the bigger bulb, which means they are multiplying and can be replanted to form it's own flower when it's big enough.