Buy bulbs now for spring flowers, but wait to plant them. In Oklahoma, I wait until around Thanksgiving or maybe even a little afterward to plant my bulbs.
In fact, I pick the coldest day I can find and shiver as I plant. Suffering is essential to bulb success.
If I plant bulbs when soil temperatures are between 55° and 60°F, I know the bulbs will put down roots and not use a lot of their energy growing above ground. Root growth is why you continue to water in winter when air temperatures are above 40°F. This is also true for shrubs and trees. Keep them watered about once a week when temperatures are above 40°F.
This year, I’m also soaking my tulip and crocus bulbs in Plantskydd animal repellent and then letting them dry. Plantskydd is a natural and organic animal repellant that has been around a long time and is used by commercial growers. You can order Plantskydd animal repellent here. Spray it on emerging foliage in your garden too in spring, but in my garden, I’m using it mostly to protect the tulips from voles. I’ve had a terrible time with voles in my front borders. I had almost given up on tulips and crocus entirely which is sad.
I thought you might want to hear what bulbs I bought for my garden this year. I’m working on a project with Colorblends Wholesale Flower bulbs, and they graciously gave me 200 tulip bulbs for my garden. I bought the rest of them. I’m planting 400 tulip bulbs of the French Blend Rose Collection. I’m a sucker for that color range of dark pink (rose), apricot and pink.
I also ordered 25 bulbs of Moris Gudanov and Akebono which are double-flowering tulips. These parrot-type tulips flower later than most single tulips. Hopefully, this will extend my tulip season.
With Oklahoma’s fickle weather, you never know.
I also ordered some amaryllis, hyacinths, and Narcissus tazetta—not ‘Ziva’ to force inside. Technically, you only “force” the hyacinths because amaryllis and N. tazetta don’t need a cold period to bloom. For more about forcing bulbs, I have several posts: how to force bulbs indoors; bulb forcing experiments and of hyacinth bulbs and rats. That last post had a lot to do with failure.
On this week’s the Gardenangelists’ podcast on Apple podcasts, Carol Michel of May Dreams Gardens and I talk about deer-and-vole-resistant bulb varieties. We compare which bulbs we can both easily grow with others that Carol can grow better because her summers aren’t as hot or as long as mine. If you like to listen on your laptop, here is the podcast episode on Buzzsprout.
We also discuss fall seed sowing for the vegetable garden. Of course, after prepping our show notes, I had to buy some deer-resistant bulbs too. I have no self-control. I bought 100 bulbs of Chionodoxa luciliae, 100 of Eranthis hyemalis, some red amaryllis for Christmas decorating and ‘Conca d’Or’ lilies’ to replace some shoved out of production by other plants.
That’s all I’ve ordered so far this year, but fall is still young, and it’s possible I’ll buy more. I’m not ordering any narcissus because I have so many. They are wonderful plants and continue to multiply.
If you think you have a brown thumb, plant daffodils. You’ll be amazed at how green your thumb turns in only a few months.
That’s all for now. Keep on planting. It will cool off soon. End of this week I hear.
I love the tiny-flowered narcissus! Your Louisiana Sweetness reminds me of Baby Moon that grows well for me here in Texas with our frequent warmer winters. Love the double tulips. Can’t grow tulips here in zone 8b-9 even with chilling. I tried again last year and had 1 out of 6 that bloomed, but that one was glorious and I considered it worth it all. I admire your energy level to plant so many bulbs plus all the forced ones that you also do.
I love them too Sandy. They are probably my favorites these days.
Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening
When it comes to bulb buying, go big or go home, eh? I hardly ever buy 100 of any kind of bulb, but I did buy 50 bulbs of a small-cup narcissus mix this year. I have gotten so discouraged by forcing hyacinth failures that I’m not buying hyacinth bulbs this year. I will just get a pre-forced hyacinth from a grocery store when I need my fix.
Marie at the Lazy W
“Suffering is essential to bulb success,” lol!! I love you Dee! Thank you for sharing this list. Spring bulbs were on my mind.
Oooh Marie, let me know what you buy! I love enabling others. LOL. ~~Dee
Those tulips are gorgeous! Against my better judgement I ordered Crocus Tommies and Camassias! Both food for mice/voles! Gardens have so much hope! xoxo
Gail, try that Plantskydd. Brent and Becky Heath swear by it. I hear it really stinks when wet though.~~Dee