If you, like me, think every spring about how you just must
divide those daffodil bulbs this year when they bloom in a crowded mass in the
spring, but you forget about this task after the green foliage fades, consider
this article your reminder. In the spring,
bulbs should remain undisturbed so they can change sunlight to food with their
green leaves. If you wait until the
winter to divide the bulbs, you risk chopping of emerging shoots that will
become flowers. Summer and fall are the
best time to divide spring-blooming bulbs because the plants are dormant.
To divide bulbs, use a spading fork or a shovel and insert
it into the soil outside the area in which the bulbs are growing, and pry
up. You’ll probably end up severing some
of the bulbs; toss those on the compost pile.
Separate the bulbs and replant them 4-6 inches apart and 4-6 inches
deep, pointed end up. Give the extra
bulbs to friends, or expand your beds of flowering bulbs.
I have planted daffodils throughout my woods, and in early spring,
the woods are speckled with spots of yellow and white flowers. Daffodils are reliably perennial, or come
back every year, here. Deer do not
usually eat them, and so they are the perfect bulb to plant nearly anywhere in
full sun. Early, mid-season, and late
blooming flowers are available so that the season of bloom can last from late
winter to late spring.
Here are my two girls enjoying the daffodils. Don't worry, they didn't actually eat them.
Many of the daffodils I planted in my woods decided they
could not survive their harsh life among tree roots, and have died. I hope I’ll be able to divide my bulbs this
fall, and to consign more bulbs to the woods.
Tulips are beautiful, but they do not come back
here reliably because our winters are not cold enough to give them the winter chill they
need to prosper. I obtain the best
flowers by either putting them in the refrigerator, inside a paper bag, away
from ripening fruit for about six weeks before I plant them, or by planting
them in a container outside where they get cold temperatures without the
insulating effects of the earth. I treat
them as annuals and throw the bulbs on the compost after they bloom.
|Muscari, or bluebottles, make a nice container planting that lasts for years.|
Bulbs make winter and spring container plantings
interesting. Instead of just planting a
pot of pansies, tuck some bulbs underneath the pansies, in colors that coordinate
with the pansies, and enjoy the surprise when they emerge. If you plan to change the arrangement of
perennials in the garden, consider putting flowering bulbs among the perennials
so the emerging foliage of the perennials will conceal the bedraggled foliage
of the bulbs.