Plant bulbs now?

hemolymphOctober 1, 2010

Is the fall the best time to plant bulbs that we want to bloom in the spring? I live in Queen Creek. I don't know anything about gardening but I am trying to learn. All I know is I want a very colorful garden in the spring.

Also, I have hard clay-like soil. Do I replace this soil with potting soil where I want to plant the bulbs?

Thanks!

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agility_mom(z9 AZ)

I usually plant my bulbs in October. I'm not sure what the protocol is but that's when I do it.
Usually, I just add a bit of compost and bone meal to the area where I am planting.
Any more, I don't plant too many bulbs because in the Spring if we have a heat wave, the flowers don't last very long.
The bulb and bulb type things that I plant are Bearded Iris, Dutch Iris, Ranunculus and Daffodils.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 12:56PM
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sundrop07(9b)

Bulbs can produce a nice display in the spring but as ag mom pointed out can be a short season for them. Have you thought about planting wildflowers? With an assortment of wildflowers you can have blooms from Jan thru May. I planted an assortment of poppies, desert lupines, red flax, desert bluebells, linaria and penstemons and they reseed and come back every spring for a beautiful display. I would avoid African Daisy, they are pretty but will take over the neighborhood. This is the month to plant all these seeds for early spring bloom, most of these seeds are available at the nurseries or home stores.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 4:36PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

I plant spring flowering bulbs in October, November and December for spring bloom. Be sure to get types that don't require a ton of chilling, otherwise they'll struggle (tulips especially). I buy a lot of paperwhite narcissus to "force" indoors in potting soil and then I plant them outside in spring and they continue to flower year after year after that. There are several small flowered low-chill daffodils/narcissus that do well here, plus the fantastic blue "Carribean lily" (Scilla peruvianus) and oxalis. A lot of summer bloomers can be planted now too.

Like the others said, they can have brief bloom periods if it gets hot, but they can be fun and I love how they disappear in summer and need almost no care. My very favorite has to be Carribean lily which is virtually idiot proof in our climate in full or almost-full sun.

Let us know what you try and how it works out. If your soil is low in organic material I'd suggest adding some compost to it, but potting soil mixed in at 50% or so is better than nothing. Most of us have done it in a pinch when compost isn't handy, LOL.

Keep us posted!
Take care,
Grant

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 5:48PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

I found a pic of my "Carribean lily" (Scilla peruvianus) from March just to show the blooms. They are very very easy plants to grow and bloom here. The only hard part is to not accidentally dig them up and slice them in half when they're dormant in summer!

Pic is embedded below and at the link below too in case anyone has trouble viewing the embedded version.

I like this plant so much I just planted more after our little discussion, LOL.

Take care,
Grant

Here is a link that might be useful: My Scilla peruvianus in bloom this past spring

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 6:36PM
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xica_da_silva

Oh wow, Grant! That's dazzling...and I believe a rare shade of color to see in Phoenix. The shape of the flowers and leaves are also very beautiful...I give it a 10 out of 10! (the plant itself kind of has the apppearance of an agave, no?) I've decided I must have one! lol. It's funny because I've been thinking I'd love to incorporate more blues in my garden.

My mom is also starting to get into gardening and was talking about wanting to try some bulbs. But she said that a landscaping guy she was talking to said that in their area(up in Cottonwood), the javelinas will dig up most bulbs except for Daffodils. I thought that was interesting. That's the good thing about living downtown. We don't see too many javelinas around here...at least not that I'm aware of!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 2:22PM
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jaspermplants

Grant, can you say where you purchased the scilla peruvianus? Also how much sun do they get? They are beautiful, I love the color!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 1:45PM
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sundrop07(9b)

The 99 cent store (at least one in Mesa) has bulbs now including the scilla. I didn't know they would grow here but after seeing the beautiful pic I'm going over tomorrow to get some. They also had daffodils, anemone, ranunculus (very small though), freesia, etc.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 10:20AM
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