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Annual Gardening

Bulbs

Bulbs are useful for a number of purposes. Many supply excellent cut flowers. They are used in formal landscapes, for border planting, rock gardens naturalizing areas, blending with annuals and perennials and for indoor forcing. Buy large, firm, plump and fairly hard bulbs. Avoid flaky, soft and moldy defects. Stay away from bargain bulbs. Purchases should be made a reputable garden centre and bulbs should be planted as soon as they become available.

Site Selection

  • Full sun to light shade
  • Rich, moist, well-drained soil
  • Amend soil with compost or manure 
  • Incorporate liberal amounts of bulb booster or bone meal into the soil
  • Good drainage essential or bulbs is subject to rot
General rule for planting is to plant the bulb three times the height of the bulb

Spring Flowering - Fall Planted

Spring flowering bulbs are planted in the fall (September / October, before a hard frost). Try to plant bulbs as soon as possible after purchasing. This allows time for roots to establish prior to freezing. Daffodils should be planted no later than mid September - they need several weeks of good weather to grow roots.

Care:
  • After planting water well
  • Good idea to mulch over planted bulbs to add extra insulation
  • In the spring after the blooms have faded the foliage of these bulbs must be left to die naturally and gradually
  • The leaves manufacture the food stored in the bulbs to support the next season’s growth
  • Removal of foliage before it is fully ripe results in less food being stored and can seriously interfere with the production of flowers the following season
  • Fertilize as soon as flowering is finished and keep well watered until they begin to go dormant
  • If plants have increased considerably and you notice an increase in leaves and a decrease in flowers they should be dug up and separated—replant right away or store over the summer and plant in the fall

Types of fall planted bulbs

Allium

Autumn Crocus

Crocus

Daffodil

Frittilaria

Glory of the snow

Grape Hyacinth

Iris

Lilies

Narcissus

Ornamental Onion

Snowdrop

Squill

Striped Squill

Tulip

Winter Aconite

*These bulbs are available for purchase in the FALL*

Summer Flowering - Spring Planted

Summer flowering bulbs are warm weather plants and are planted in the spring. In Alberta, start bulbs in pots indoors (March), transplant outdoors when the danger of frost has past. Some summer flowering bulbs are considered tender and have to be dug up in the fall while others are hardy.

Care:
  • Keep soil loosened at the surface throughout the season, be careful not to disturb or destroy roots
  • Apply an all purpose fertilizer (20-20-20) throughout the season
  • For tender bulbs - 
    • After bulbs die back, lift from the soil and clean (cut off top growth and remove dirt and old withered parts)
    • Dust bulbs with fungicide (Bulb and Soil Dust) 
    • Store in a cool, dry, frost-free location for the winter
    • A hot dry cellar is not the most ideal location but if it is the only location available bulbs should be wrapped in several layers of newspaper to prevent moisture loss
  • Some spring bulbs are hardy and do not need to be lifted in the fall. It is a good idea to mulch around newly planted bulbs to prevent moisture loss, help suppress weeds and add a layer of insulation.



Types of tender Spring Planted Bulbs:

Anemone (Windflower)

Baboon Flower

Begonia

Brodiaea

Buttercup

Calla Lily

Canna Lily

Chocolate Cosmos

Corn Lily

Dahlia

Elephant Ears

Freesia

Galtonia

Gladiola

Gloriosa Lily

Hardy Orchid (Bletilla)

Harlequin Flower

Homeria (Cape Tulip)

Montbretia

Nerine Lily

Oxalis

Peacock Flower

Perfumed Fairy Lily

Spider Lily

Sprekelia

Tiger Flower

Tuberose

Zephyr Lily

 

Types of HARDY Spring Planted Bulbs:

Astilbe

Bleeding Heart

Coneflower

Cranesbill Geranium

Daylily

Ferns

Gay Feather (Liatris)

Hosta

Iris

Lilies

Lily-of-the-valley

Peony

Phlox

Tickseed

Trillium

Virginia Bluebells