More than Crocuses, Tulips, and Daffodils

Eight Different Kinds of Bulbs to Plant for Spring Arrival!

By Elizabeth Cornell Fake, Fairfax Master Gardener
After Labor Day, it’s time to think about planting bulbs for spring. Most garden supply stores will have a large display of bagged bulbs with more choices than you can imagine to greet spring. The question becomes not “if” bulbs, but “what” bulbs. Of course, everyone will want some tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and crocuses as the traditional harbingers of spring. However, this is also a good time to think about some bulb choices that will give the spring garden some variety and appeal beyond the traditional selections.

allium

Allium giganteum

To begin, the time to plant bulbs ranges between September and November about six weeks before the first killing frost or when the temperature of the soil consistently remains below 60 degrees. Since soil temperature depends upon many factors including sunlight, air temperature, and water content of the soil, it is wise to invest in an inexpensive soil thermometer. With the temperature below 60, the bulbs will become dormant for the winter and emerge when the soil warms up in the spring.

Bulbs need about 12 weeks of dormancy for healthy blooms. Plant the bulbs as soon as you can after purchase so they don’t dry out and become de