Tulips and narcissus (daffodils) are our favorite spring bloomers. From the double flowering tulips that are often mistaken as a peony to the incredible multi-coloring, ruffled narcissus, they are pure delight. These bulbs are a mainstay here on the farm and we cannot imagine a spring without them.
They are some of the easiest flowers to grow. Plant them in the fall and be delighted in the spring. It is as simple as dig, drop and cover. The methods described here include additional tips that will work well for any home gardener.
Select a location that has full sun and well-draining soil. Do not plant in an area that can have standing water or puddles. Soil should drain well otherwise there is risk of rot.
Bulbs make the most impact en masse or cluster. We recommend 10 bulbs or more in a planting. Dig out a circle that is about 6-8 inches deep, mix in compost, then plant bulbs. Place bulbs as far apart as they are wide with the point up. Cover with soil and water in.
It is easy to forget where you planted them so be sure to place a marker or label of some sort.
Critter problems? Us too. Our only success has been with physical barriers like awire meshorcloche. After bulbs have been placed in the ground and covered with soil, secure your barrier with additional soil or landscape staples. Remove once bulbs begin to sprout.
The same method can be applied to growing in a pot. Select a pot that drains. There should be a a small hole at the bottom and may include a dish for the container to sit on. We love the 10-12 inch terra cotta pots.
Pro Tip! Bulbs need a chilling period. This happens naturally in nature during the winter months while nestled beneath the soil. If bulbs do not receive the cold temperatures (a minimum of mid to lower 40F) for the length of time required, they may not develop properly. We give narcissus 12 weeks and tulips 14 weeks of cold. It is possible to replicate this environment by putting your pot in something like an unheated porch, patio, garage or shed.
Once you have finished the cold stretch (it's ok to go longer too), move your pot indoors to a sunny window. Once sprouts emerge, water regularly.
We hope you enjoy this fun, beauty and grandeur in your garden!
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