Here are a few tips for planting:
- Choose quality bulbs. The bulbs should be chubby yet firm. Never choose bulbs that are spongy, withered or moldy. Larger bulbs mean more flowers. Larger bulbs are more expensive though.
- Chill your bulbs. Wrap your bulbs in newspaper and chill them in a cool, dark place for a few weeks to a month. A bottom refrigerator drawer is fine. Keep them away from over-ripening fruit though.
- Prepare your planting site. Choose a location that has sun to part sun and good drainage. Bulbs will rot in soggy soil. Consider raised beds or hillsides if you have heavy clay. Loosen and add compost to your native soil. There are many conflicting opinions regarding adding fertilizers and bone meal to the planting hole. Note that strong synthetic fertilizers can burn your bulbs. Stick with compost and you won’t have that problem.
- Wait for the soil to cool. November is a good time to plant. The days are shorter and temperatures are cooling. Don’t wait until it gets too cold. You want some roots to develop before we move into the heart of winter.
- Plant properly. Plant you bulbs with the pointy side up. For some bulbs this is obvious. If you can’t tell do your best. The bulb will figure out that it needs to grow upward. Planting depth depends on the type of bulb. Follow the instructions on the package but lean toward the deeper side if you are given a range. A general rule of thumb is to plant your bulb three times as deep as the length of the bulb. Don’t water your bulbs at planting time. The seasonal rains will do the job.
- Consider the design impact. The flowers will have more impact if they are planted in clusters or masses rather than strung out in lines or scattered really far apart.
Illustration: Curated Envy