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Flower Bulb Growing Tips

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A closer look at a daffodil.

Credit: Annette McCarthy
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Here are key flower bulb growing tips from The Old Farmer's Almanac.

  • Turn the soil over to a depth of about eight to ten inches. Add enough compost to make it loose and crumbly.
  • Don't plant your bulbs where you always see standing water in early spring. They like well-drained sites.
  • Get your bulbs in the ground in September, October, or early November—before the last hard frost. Cover the bulbs with soil, water well, and provide two to four inches of mulch on top of the soil.
  • Plant bulbs to their recommended depths: For daffodils, fritillarias, hyacinths, and tulips, plant six to eight inches deep; for crocuses, snowdrops, Spanish bluebells, and other small bulbs, plant three to four inches deep.
  • Add a balanced natural organic fertilizer in the spring when the bulbs first appear and again after they have bloomed. It is not necessary to add fertilizer to the bulbs as you plant them, but you need to help them recharge their food banks after they have bloomed.
  • Cut off the spent flower heads after your bulbs have bloomed, but don't cut off the foliage. The leaves help provide nutrients to what will become the next season's bulbs.


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Is it good to have some

By Ashwini

Is it good to have some compost mixed in soil while planting bulbs? I live in North Georgia. Is it too late to plant bulbs here?

You're fine. Late October is

By Almanac Staff

You're fine. Late October is when folks start planting bulbs in Georgia. You can often plant as late as December but the later you wait, the harder it is for the bulbs to establish themselves before winter.

I Keep planting sunflower

By jeannette lofAS

I Keep planting sunflower seeds and they never come up. What am I doing wrong.

Sunflowers grow best in

By Almanac Staff

Sunflowers grow best in locations with full sun; they prefer long, hot summers to flower well. Though they're not too fussy, sunflowers thrive in slightly acidic to somewhat alkaline (pH 6.0 to 7.5). If possible, put seeds in a spot that is sheltered from strong winds, perhaps along a fence or near a building. A light application of fertilizer mixed in at planting time will encourage strong root growth.

I live here in Chicago is it

By Roger Cross

I live here in Chicago is it too late to plant bulbs for this summer? I planted some canna lilies I got about 2 weeks ago and they are coming up but I wanted to plant more in my girlfriend's yard. Would it be too late?

You can plant more summer

By Almanac Staff

You can plant more summer bulbs, but do it quickly.

I want to split my hosta and

By Julie Wichern

I want to split my hosta and replant them in different areas, can I do that now (May 12) or do I need to wait until the fall?

Should I try to cover my

By Barbara McVay

Should I try to cover my Daffodils that have just bloomed this past week? We live in central Texas and will probably have a freeze tonight.

Daffodil bulbs can take

By Almanac Staff

Daffodil bulbs can take temperatures up to low 20s and bounce back-- though prolonged freezing temperatures may cause some damage to flowers and foliage. If flowers are in full bloom, the flowers may wilt as the flower stalk thaws. Protection such as garden fabric is a good idea.

I have 3 Amaryllis in

By Mark Rector

I have 3 Amaryllis in containers that have about 6 inches of foliage should I cut them back or will they go ahead and bloom

Only remove the leaves if

By Almanac Staff

Only remove the leaves if they turn brown. Your amaryllis will bloom when the bulbs are ready.

Help they are calling for

By Malibu

Help they are calling for snow and my hyaciths are about 2inchs up out of the ground what should i do!! they are calling for 6-10inchs should i cover them or leave them be!!

Hyacinths are very hardy.

By Almanac Staff

Hyacinths are very hardy. They are not going to die and the snow acts like a cozy blanket around your hyacinths.

I planted daffodil bulbs in

By hippychickfla

I planted daffodil bulbs in November. They started coming up in Feb. when we had a warm spell. The beginning of March we had frost which hurt all the blooms. Should I deadhead them or leave them alone?

I have canna bulbs and was

By bar13car27

I have canna bulbs and was told to plant them in the spring.....is that not right?

I have had cannas for the

By Carissa

I have had cannas for the past 10 years and I always plant them in the spring and dig them up in the fall with excellent results. :-)

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