A Great Holiday Tradition.
With November drawing to an end, it’s not too late to get out there and plant bulbs for next spring! In fact, it’s a wonderful holiday tradition to establish with children. On Thanksgiving, plant the bulbs while dinner is being prepared and then enjoy the feast. Then, by Easter, the seed that was planted comes to life. This time of year is a great time to plant the bulbs of some hardier flowers, such as tulips! Planting now is a great way to spice up the look of your garden for next year, or even just add a little bit of decoration about your lawn. At Koopman, we’re proud to offer bulbs from our friends at Holland Beauty with their wonderful Friend of the Earth line bulbs.
Planting bulbs is a very simple process, and most bulbous flowers can be planted the same way, however some species require subtle variations on the planting process. For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to be looking at the tulip: a strong and hardy perennial flower that is adept at growing in almost all climates, and has no special requirements for planting.
Preparing to plant: Selecting your bulbs
When the time to plant has come, hold off on purchasing the bulbs for as long as possible. We recommend picking up a pack of Friend of the Earth bulbs the day before you are looking to plant. After you get your bulbs you will need to select the best ones for planting. Open your package of bulbs and feel each one to make sure it is firm to the touch. Any bulbs that feel soft or appear shriveled should not be planted, as it is potentially rotten on the inside. Store the rest of your bulbs in a cool environment overnight.
Preparing to plant: Where and when?
The biggest question when planting your tulips will always be, “Where do I want to plant my new bulbs?”. Because tulips are so hardy, they can be planted almost anywhere. Just make sure they are able to receive a lot of sunlight! Once you pick the location for your new flowery friends, you will need to make sure the soil is free of rocks and weeds. Use a trowel to first break up the soil, and then dig a small bed to plant your bulbs.
Time to plant
For larger bulbs you will need to dig down between 8-9 inches, and for smaller bulbs dig 5-6 inches. Use your trowel to dig down the appropriate distance and make it as wide as you want. The bulbs should be planted 4-6 inches away from each other so the length of the bed will depend on how many you are planting. Place the bulbs pointy-end up in the ground and cover gently with dirt. Make sure you don’t knock over your bulbs or your tulips will try to grow upside down (Sunlight is a lot harder for plants to get when they’re growing down into the soil; trust us on this one). After you have covered the bulbs, you can sprinkle kitty litter or gravel on top to deter rodents from using your holes and ruining your bulbs.
Remember that tulips are perennials! This means that they should grow back year after year. Unfortunately, not all soil is suitable for a second year of growth, but this can be easily fixed! Applying plant food and fertilizer to the ground in early spring and late fall will allow your tulips to survive several years beyond the initial plant.
Caring for your tulip bulbs
After covering your bulbs, lightly water the soil. Do not soak it or you could cause the bulbs to rot. After watering your bulbs you can take a moment to step back and admire your work, because you’re done! Yep, that’s all you need to do to your bulbs until spring time comes around and they flower into beautiful spring tulips! The late autumn to winter months should provide your bulbs with adequate water to make it well into spring time.
Planting tulips is a great way to bring a little more life to your garden or yard. Come down to one of our Koopman stores and ask our in house specialists if you have any questions on how to best plant your Friend of the Earth bulbs before the weather gets too cold!