Not all garden plants are reproduced by seed. In some cases, garden bulbs are the preferred method of starting a new plant for many popular garden flowers and vegetables. As with any type of plant propagation, soil temperature and moisture levels must be controlled for most successful growth. The two major groups of garden bulbs are the fall planted Dutch bulbs including tulips, daffodils and hyacinths which bloom in the early spring. And the spring or summer planted favorites including daylilies, dahlias, gladiolus, potatoes and onions for summer blooming and food production.
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Many different colors and types of the fall planted Dutch bulbs are available for planting in September and October. Choose from early, mid and late season varieties and a selection of growing heights. Planting depth for each species is an important consideration so that the plants do not start growing too early in the spring. Plant in groups for the best show in the garden.
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Cool temperature loving garden bulbs for summer harvest like potatoes and onions are planted in April or May, as are perennial flower bulbs like daylily and iris. Frost tender garden bulbs like dahlias and gladiolus are planted after the danger of frost has passed, which is on average right after Mother’s Day. Planting depth is important so read the planting instructions on the package for each bulb has its own requirements.
Garden bulbs may be planted indoors for an early start to the season. Use growing containers and a good quality potting soil for growing on as starter plants. Water regularly and apply fertilizer as directed on the package. Starting conditions require a location with bright light like right in a window to keep the new plants growing healthy and strong. Grow lights are very helpful for providing additional light for the plants as well.
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Dutch garden bulbs such as tulips and daffodils may be planted indoors in the fall, but require a cooling period of time after they are planted to mimic what they would experience in nature during the winter months. Placing the planted bulbs in an unused refrigerator or unheated garage of 40 degree temperatures would work. Plant the bulbs in good quality potting soil in any size container. Place the pot in a cool area through the winter. Keep the soil moist. After 15 weeks of cooling, bring the pot into the house for forcing in a bright location. It will take 2-3 weeks for the leaves to grow and the flower buds to emerge.