Plant spring-flowering bulbs before its too late
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Monday, January 14, 2013
1/14/13 at 2:38 AM
Now is about the latest you can plant the spring-flowering bulbs ordered from the garden supply catalog, or the ones dug up to protect from the drought last summer, said Tulsa Master Gardener Dana Dobias.
There are two basic groups of bulbs planted in Oklahoma: spring flowering bulbs, which are planted in the fall, and summer flowering bulbs planted in mid to late spring.
From late August through early September spring bulbs are on sale at garden centers and mail-order houses. The popular varieties for this area are tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, alliums, muscari (grape hyacinths), crocuses and other minor bulbs. "Optimally, planting time for these is mid-October through early January but if you bought bulbs in August, and found them just past their optimal planting time, you should go ahead and plant them," Dobias said.
"They should be planted in cool, moist soil so the flowers can fully mature and this will be a bit of a problem, as the soil is dry to a depth well below bulb planting depth," she said.
The National Weather Service's "U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook" (Jan. 3 through March 31) predicts "drought to persist or intensify." This makes it advisable to dig holes or furrows and fill them with water a few hours before planting.
"Once they are in the ground, water as you go to remove air from planting soil and mulch the area to a depth of several inches and run the garden hose overnight at a trickle in the mulched beds. Just make sure it stays wet - the ground doesn't dry out as much this time of year, especially if it's been universally mulched. So if you can get it wet to start with and then water it once a week in rainless times, they'll be OK," Dobias said.
The Southwood Landscape & Garden Center, 9025 S. Lewis Ave., offers a bulb-planting fact sheet that recommends planting bulbs, "at a depth of twice the length of the bulb. For daffodils, this would be 6 to 8 inches deep and for tulips, 3 to 4 inches. Measure other bulbs to determine their ideal planting depths," the fact sheet says.
"Encourage root growth by adding soil amendments at planting time such as bone meal or Dutch Bulb Food for best results. Water newly planted bulbs well to settle them in and close air pockets around them. Water bulbs through fall and winter when experiencing a dry season."
Original Print Headline: Spring bulbs need planting now
Phil Mulkins 918-699-8888
Daffodils sway in the wind at Woodward Park in springtime. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World file