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Gardening tips

Van Tubergen flower bulbs.

Gardening tips..

What kind of soil is suitable for planting spring flowering bulbs?
All types of soil are suitable for planting flower bulbs. Only extremely wet soil could present problems. The soil should be well loosened before planting. Heavy "rich" clay soil can best be improved by mixing peat or compost into the top layer.

Do I need to fertilise spring flowering bulbs?
In principle, flower bulbs do not require extra fertilisation because bulbous plants store their own food reserves. Perennial use. If the flower bulbs remain in the ground for several years, it is advisable to enrich the soil with a slow-acting fertiliser in autumn. Fertiliser in the proportions 9-9-6 is very well suited for tulips. This extra nourishment allows the bulb to gather sufficient strength to blossom profusely next spring. This fertilisation should be repeated every year.

What is the best time to plant spring flowering bulbs?
Spring-flowering bulbs can be planted from September through December, ideal even after the first ground frost, as long as the soil is not frozen and can be worked with ease.

What are the best places in my garden to plant spring flowering bulbs?
Spring bulbs can generally be planted anywhere in the garden: in the sun, shade or half-shade; in borders, on terraces, near fences or under trees. Low-growing flower bulbs show up well in spots where they’re not obstructed from view. Taller types can best be planted in the back of a border.

How deep should I plant spring flowering bulbs?
The general rule of thumb applicable to spring bulbs is that they should be planted twice as deep as the bulb’s height. To be more specific: in the case of large bulbs (such as tulips, hyacinths and narcissi), the bottom of the bulb (the flat side) should be planted at a depth of 20 cm, whereas for smaller bulbs (such as anemones, Scillas, Muscari and snowdrops) the planting depth is 10 cm.

What is the best way to plant bulbs?
Before you start planting the bulbs, it’s best to set them down at the proper distance from each other. After digging a hole with a trowel or special bulb planter, the spring bulbs are then planted at the correct depth with the growth-point upward. Fill the hole with soil and press down lightly. If large quantities of bulbs are to be planted, it is more practical to first dig the entire planting area. Then carefully press the bulbs or tubers into the soil at the right distance from each other and cover again with the earth removed earlier.

Do I have to water the flower bulbs I just planted?
It is advisable to water the bulbs after planting, unless nature takes care of the watering. The bulbs will form roots more quickly in moist soil, which is very important for the further development of the plant.

How can I create beautiful planting combinations?
The best results are achieved if heights, colour combinations and flowering periods are taken into consideration. It is preferable to plant flower bulbs in groups, but not in circles or squares, in order to obtain as natural an effect as possible. By planting together a variety of bulbs with different flowering periods, the garden can remain colourful for a long time. For example, by combining low-growing botanical crocuses with late-blooming tulips. Or snowdrops with early tulips, or botanical narcissi with Darwin Hybrid tulips and Alliums.

How an I combine flower bulbs with annuals?
Flower bulbs can be combined extremely well with annuals; the latter fill in the gaps once the bulbs have finished blossoming. Some plants (such as violets and forget-me-nots) can be planted together with the spring bulbs. Other types can simply be added later.

Can I leave spring flowering bulbs undisturbed so that they can natuarlise?
Many spring bulbs are superbly suited for naturalising – ideal for giving the garden a "natural" look. This can be achieved by planting them in the grass, round a tree or beneath shrubs. Low-growing narcissi, crocuses, snowdrops, winter aconite’s and Scillas can be naturalised very successfully. The taller bulbous plants (e.g. trumpet narcissi) are best combined with other varieties. Always plant bulbs in groups of six or more round trees or rocks for a natural effect. It is handy to mark the spots with pebbles to indicate where the bulbs have been planted. If flower bulbs have been planted in grass, it must be taken into consideration that mowing should not take place until two-thirds of the bulb flower has died back.

Can flower bulbs be planted among groundcover plants?
Flower bulbs are very attractive when planted among ground cover. The roots of flower bulbs grow deeper than those of ground cover and therefore do not deprive the other plants of food. Once the flowers have finished blooming, the ground cover ensures an attractive garden.

Can flower bulbs be planted in pots and containers?
Low-growing flower bulbs are very well suited for planting in flower boxes. You can plant them more closely together or even in "layers". The early-flowering bulbs near the top, the later-flowering ones at the bottom. Since the soil in boxes tends to dry out more quickly, regular watering is essential. In the case of frost, the planter can be moved to the garage or any other sheltered spot.

Which spring flowering bulbs are most suitable for having insyde my home?
Many types of spring bulbs can be forced indoors so that they’ll bloom in winter. There are even special bulbs whose main aim it is to bring colour and fragrance to the living-room during the winter season, such as the Amaryllis and "paperwhite" narcissus. Other types, such as hyacinths, tulips, narcissi and crocuses first need a cold period to be able to come to bloom. Plant these bulbs and set them for 12 to 15 weeks ini an place where the temperature is between 5 and 10°C. Be sure to provide sufficient water during this period.

After the flowering period
After the end of the flowering period, the bulbs can either remain in the ground or be dug up. Leaving them in the ground is a form of naturalisation. By adding a few new flower bulbs you can create a truly magnificent effect. But you can also dig up the flower bulbs and perhaps plant something different the next year. If you want to re-use the dug-up bulbs the following season, you should only dig them up once the leaf has died completely. Remove the earth from the bulbs and store them in a dry well-ventilated place until autumn.

Do I have to mulch flower bulbs to protect them from frost in the winter? 
In very cold climates, extreme chill or snow can damage sprouting bulbs. A short period of frost or occasional night frost usually does not cause permanent damage. If the bulbs begin to sprout in December/January when frost is still expected, it is advisable to cover them with a layer of soil, peat or leaves. This is not recommended once severe frost has set in, because the risk of damage would only be greater. Should the weather turn warm prematurely, the bulbs will also start flowering earlier than expected. Moreover, flowering may be more prolific.

source: ibc (nl)