- View full picture
The fall colors make me want to plant bulbs, so I’m going to buy some daffodil bulbs. I love to see their bright flowers in the spring after a dreary gray winter. An added benefit is that ground squirrels leave them alone, unlike tulips, which squirrels love to eat.
I have hyacinths that the squirrels don’t touch, but maybe that’s because they’re planted right next to our back door. Maybe all the back and forth keeps the squirrels away from them. Maybe I’ll try more hyacinth bulbs too.
For a successful spring presentation, start with large, firm and healthy daffodil bulbs. Plant them in well-drained soil at the right depth in a location that receives at least half a day of sun. They will grow under deciduous trees as the trees usually do not have leaves by the time the bulbs emerge. However, evergreen trees will shade the daffodil plant and they will be spindly with few flowers.
Work the soil to a depth of 10 to 12 inches while mixing in a bulb fertilizer (5-10-10, 3-6-6) according to the label. Do not place the fertilizer directly at the bottom of the hole and do not allow it to come into direct contact with the bulbs or bulbs, and possibly the developing roots could be damaged.
Place the bottom of the bulbs about twice as deep as the bulb is high below the soil surface with the pointed side facing up. Rather than placing the bulbs individually, plant them in groups of three or more of the same variety for a fuller display in the spring. Tamp the soil to remove air pockets. Adding mulch will help maintain soil moisture and reduce weeds in the spring.
Mid-October is the optimal time to plant bulbs, as the bulbs should develop a root system before the coldest weather. However, if, like me, you often forget to plant your bulbs, they can burrow into the ground until it’s frozen. It is best to put the bulbs in the ground before Thanksgiving.
There are many species, subspecies and varieties of daffodils – between 40 and 200 with over 32,000 named hybrids, according to the American Daffodil Society, www.daffodilusa.org. With so many colors and types to choose from, especially the fragrant ones, I could easily become a daffodil fanatic. Have fun and explore the websites to see all the choices. So go to a good nursery, like Greenhouse Garden Center and buy!