One of the most popular ways people with a green thumb feed their gardening addiction year round is to purchase and trade seasonal bulbs. Harvesting and replanting bulbs throughout the year is one of our favorite ways to ensure homes are constantly filled with beautiful live plants, regardless of season. While many bulbs are acquired during fall, our florists at Belle Fiori encourage our clients to play with planting throughout the year. Check out a few tips on planting bulbs this time of year below, and make sure to stop by our Milwaukee area shop where we’ll be happy to recommend our favorite sources for seasonal bulbs and dish out additional species specific tips on how to make your choices thrive.
How to Plant Spring Bulbs in February
Spring bulbs acquired in February need to be planted (or stored) within a few days to prevent them from drying out. Daffodils, tulips and lilies are just a few of the spring bulbs available. They are all winter hardy and as long as the ground is workable, they can be planted outdoors, even in February. If not, you will need to plant them indoors and “force” them to grow by imitating their outdoor winter.
Fill a pot or larger halfway with “soil-less” potting mix. The pot should have drainage holes and be at least 8 inches deep.
Layer the bulbs on top of the potting mix with the tips facing up. They should be close together but not touching. Add more potting mix until half of the bulbs are covered; the top half of the bulbs will be exposed. Water the bulbs well.
Check on your bulbs every week or so to be sure the soil is not dry. Add only a little bit of water to keep the soil moist.
Set the pot in a cool location for 10 to 12 weeks. Ideal temperatures are between 40 and 50 degrees Farenheit. A garage, attic, crawl space, basement or refrigerator may work for you. If you are storing the pot in the refrigerator, put it in an open plastic bag first to help retain moisture.
Take the pot out after 10 to 12 weeks and place it in an area with indirect sunlight. Wait until green shoots emerge from the bulbs and move the pot to a sunny location. Keep the soil slightly moistened.
Till the top 12 inches of your soil with a garden rake. Add several inches of organic matter such as compost or peat moss. Mix it all together. This location should be in the sun or partial shade.
Dig holes. Spring bulbs are usually planted anywhere from 2 to 8 inches below the soil. Generally, a hole that is three times as deep as the height of the bulb will suffice.
Space multiple bulbs 3 to 12 inches apart. Large bulbs (such as lilies) should be spaced further apart, while small bulbs (such as crocuses) can be planted closer together.
Plant the bulbs with the tips facing up and backfill the soil. Pack it down and water the new planting site.