Even though there are not a lot of things blooming in the garden, now is the time to ensure that you’ll have spring blooms. You should be planting bulbs that flower in the spring now. These bulbs need a cold period to actually flower and perform correctly in the spring. As a general rule of thumb these bulbs should be planted between 4-5” below the surface. We’re going to look at the three most popular flowering bulbs and the proper ways to grow them.
Tulips are probably the fan favorite of all of the bulbs, but they have issues returning each year. Many of the newer hybrids were developed for their flower and not their hardiness. They can return somewhat, but be prepared if they do not return. If you want tulips to return each year try the different species of tulips and stay away from the named hybrids. I’ll always plant a few of the hybrids because they add a great splash of color in the spring. They can range in height so make sure you check the height before adding them to the landscape so that they can be seen!
Out of all of the spring flowering bulbs, daffodils are the hardiest. You can see remnants of old farm houses that have become engulfed by nature, but each year the daffodils return. I haven’t met a daffodil that I don’t like, but keep in mind they come in colors other than yellow. Many of the newer hybrids are various shades of yellow, peach, and even white. If you want hardy spring flowers bulbs that return each year plant daffodils.
Hyacinths can have the same issues about returning, but you won’t find a bulb that smells better than a hyacinth. I only wish they were taller so that I could enjoy the scent more. Due to their height, they are usually planted in the borders or in the front of the landscape. For the most part, most of the hyacinth hybrids are going to remain less than a foot tall. They come in a range of colors, but visually it appears best in masses of one color.
As always, if you have any questions regarding any horticulture facet, feel free to contact Lucas Holman, Horticulture UT-TSU Extension Agent, Wilson County at 615-444-9584 or Lholman1@utk.edu.