beginning gardener- ?s re planting bulbs (and in shady areas)

deconoviceSeptember 16, 2006

Hi- I have a few questions about planting bulbs- this is my first year having a yard and I'm not really sure how it all works.

1. I plant bulbs in fall that will come up in spring, correct? (i live in NC). Do I plant in September or October or doesn't it matter?

2. The main area I wanted to plant is in the shade. Are there particular flowers that will do better here? Will bulbs grow in shade or should I stick to sunnier areas?

3. Does it matter how far apart you plant them?

4. Do you need to do anything special to the soil before or after? Do you worry about watering the area during the rest of fall/winter?

5. I hear there is something called a bulb planter that i can buy & use to remove the right amount of soil for the bulb to go in. Is this the best idea for a gardening novice?

6. I hear some bulbs are perennials and some not? Anyone know which come up year after year?

Thanks...sorry for all the questions :).

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aisgecko(7b Raleigh)

1) yes, you plant in fall for spring flowers. In NC you can usually plant all through October. In fact, I have planted them in warm spells well into November and even december and still had them bloom. I don't like to plant them in September because they sometimes get tricked into coming up early, but this often happens with early blooming bulbs left in the ground and most still bloom so you probably can.
2)If the shade is under deciduous trees then early spring bulbs often get enough sunlight to produce flowers the next year, but they won't multiply as fast or flower as much as they would in full sun usually. In part shade under deciduous trees (which is almost full sun in early spring) I have daffodils, crocuses, wood hyacynths, and squill (scilla) doing well. I have had luck with some irises in part shade (though they are really rhizomes).
3)They will say on the package how far apart to plant, it depends on the bulb.
4)I never water bulbs in the winter because some can rot. If it was a really dry spring I might water, but it's almost never necessary. The daffs and crocuses can usually handle any soil, some bulbs might benefit from better soil.
5) some people like those bulb planters. In thick clay they can be hard to push down. I think a hand spade works fine, but that's me.
6)The bulbs I mentioned are all perennial in NC. Most bulbs you buy will probably bloom the first year because the energy has already been stored in the bulbs for next years flowering, but if they don't get enough light to the leaves before they die back then they may not flower again.

If you have moderate shade under evergreen trees not many bulbs would flower well but there are many other types of perennials that might brighten those spots. Good luck! -Ais.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 4:47PM
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