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Spring flowering bulbs should be planted in October and November

Daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and crocus and other spring flowering bulbs should be planted in October and November. Various types of bulbs are now available at local garden shops and retail outlets.

Select bulbs that are firm and healthy. Large, healthy bulbs produce healthy, large and showy blooms. Well-drained soils are essential for adequate bulb growth. Tight, clay soils should be amended with top soil, ground bark or composted material worked into the soil. Raised beds that include good topsoil and soil amendments are excellent areas for bulb placement.

Proper planting procedure in the fall is important for later spring performance. Small sized bulbs (1 inch in height) should be planted 4-5 inches deep. Larger bulbs (2 inches or more in height) should be planted 7-8 inches deep, with the depths measured from the base of the bulb to the soil line. Try to loosen the soil under the bulb before planting. Large bulbs should be planted 3-6 inches apart and small bulbs 1-2 inches apart. Both small and large bulb types can be inter-planted to spark bloom and color interest. Specialized bulb food or fertilizers are designed to maximize top growth and bulb development.

Cover the bulbs with half the soil backfill, water thoroughly and finish covering with remaining soil. Cover the planted bulbs with 2-3 inches of mulch to conserve water and reduce winter weed growth and irrigate as needed during winter droughts.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired County Extension Director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County.

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