Fall Preparation for a Fine Spring Display

Fall Preparation for a Fine Spring Display

Fall Preparation for a Fine Spring Display

As we move into the fall season, you’re likely getting ready to brave the cold by winterizing your house and your garden. The last thing on your mind is spring flowers. However, at this time of year, you should actually be taking a step back and considering how much lovelier spring will be if you welcome it with a garden full of blooms and bright colors. Now, realize that the best way to ensure a colorful spring garden is to be prepared enough to plant bulbs in the fall.

There are several varieties of bulbs you can plant in the fall to usher in your spring with colorful blooms. The most common one is tulips. Here we’ll look at the various categories of tulips, other spring bulb options, and how to plant and care for your bulbs to see them into the spring season.

Categories of Tulips

Tulips belong in several different categories. Some are early-season, some are mid-season, and some are late-flowering. They also come in a range of heights and colors.

Greigii is the most common category of tulip. Greigii tulips are early- to mid-season flowering, grow anywhere from six to 14 inches tall, and come in mostly oranges, reds, and bicolors.

Another common tulip category is single early. “Single” refers to the single cup-shaped bloom that is approximately three inches in diameter and, unlike other tulips that open up in the sunlight, remains tight throughout the day. “Early,” as it suggests, means the tulips in this category bloom earlier in the season than tulips in other categories. Single early tulips come in mostly pinks, yellows, whites, and reds and grow 12 to 18 inches tall.

Fosteriana category tulips have larger flowers that open up quite far in the sunlight. They are early bloomers, about 12 to 18 inches tall, and come in all colors.

Mini botanical, or species, tulips are small, rock garden-like tulips. If you’ve been so lucky as to climb the mountains of Turkey, you would likely have found these tulips peeking out of the rocks in the wild. Species tulips are great for naturalizing because they’re really good at coming back year after year after year. Some that are hybridized may need to be replanted every couple of years, but most are apt at returning and multiplying. Most species tulips grow between four and 10 inches tall and typically bloom early depending on where you are located and how warm it is.

Double early tulips are like peonies with many, many, many petals and big, full flowers. As the name suggests, tulips in this category bloom early. Double early tulips grow 12 to 18 inches tall and come in a full spectrum of colors.

Multi-flowering, or bunching, tulips are mid-season bloomers with changing colors. For example, a bunching tulip could start out as a creamy white color, transition into yellow, and end up pink, all in the same season for a single flower. The individual flowers are small, but they grow in clusters and often share a single 14- to 18-inch-tall stem.

Triumph tulips are mid-season and tend to be the most popular among landscapers because they can follow their bloom cycle and still have time to be pulled out to make room for the annuals. Triumph tulips are 16 to 22 inches tall and come in a full range of colors.

Van Eijk tulips are late-blooming in reds, oranges, yellows, whites, and pinks. They are 20 to 22 inches tall.

Darwin hybrids are mid- to late-season, come in all colors, and grow 20 to 22 inches tall. These are not to be confused with Darwins, or single lates, which are late bloomers and grow up to 24 inches tall.

Double lates, like double earlies, are peony-like flowers that come in pinks, purples, burgundies, and bicolors. The difference is that double lates bloom late in the season instead of early.

Fringed tulips are late-blooming and appear as if someone took pinking shears and shredded the edge of the petals. They are 16 to 20 inches tall.

Viridiflora, or artist, tulips are very interesting. They are bicolor, come in all shades, and bloom mid- to late-season. They are long lasting and grow 16 to 22 inches tall.

Finally, parrot tulips, another fancy hybrid, flower late, have multiple colors straight across the board, and grow 15 to 28 inches tall.

Other Spring Bulbs

If you are looking to plant something other than tulips for your spring garden, we also carry a variety of crocuses, ornamental onions, garlic, and more. Come have a look at what we have for you in-store or online.

Caring for Your Bulbs

When it comes to planting your bulbs, they should have some sort of fertilizer at the bottom of the hole mixed up well. If you are thinking about using bone meal, which is the most popular form of fertilizer for tulips, consider the potential for attracting vermin. If you are in an area that is prone to visits from rats or skunks, the smell of the bone meal will encourage them to dig up your bulbs. So instead, use Bulb Booster or Superphosphate.

Another thing to be mindful of is how deep you are planting your bulbs. Whatever the depth of the bulb is, you want to plant it three times that depth. This should be approximately six to eight inches for most tulips—but not for alliums, erodes, and others!

Layering is a fun way to ensure you always have something growing in a single spot. If you have a bulb, like an ornamental onion, that needs to be planted eight inches deep and a tulip that only needs to go six inches, you can layer them on top of each other so you always have something in flower. If you do this, bear in mind when each flower will bloom and ensure you don’t “double book” your spots and end up with two plants trying to bloom at the same time.

Just like everything else you plant, bulbs need a really good drink after you plant them so that the roots are stimulated and the plant starts to grow. Note that the roots need three to six weeks after being planted to take hold, so you need to have your bulbs in the ground three to six weeks before the ground freezes.

You can enhance the look and growth of your bulbs by spreading bark mulch on your bulb bed. Bark mulch keeps the weeds down, looks nice and neat and tidy, and also stops your bulbs from the pesky freeze-thaw we experience throughout our community. This year, we’re in for an El Niño year, meaning it will be warmer than normal, but there will be a few periods with colder temperatures.

If you need more tips for caring for and maximizing your spring bulb flowers, don’t hesitate to ask your Blomidon team for help. That’s what we’re here for!

Happy gardening and we’ll see you soon.