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USDA Hardiness Planting Zones

To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold-hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.

  • If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
  • If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).

Layer Bulbs for Big Color in a Small Space

A simple trick to get long-lasting color from your bulb garden is to layer the bulbs at planting time. In general, the larger the bulb, the deeper it should be planted. To layer bulbs, you plant the largest bulbs first, then plant smaller bulbs in layers above them. Here's how:

1. Choose a variety of different types of bulbs and sort them by size -- for example, large-cupped daffodils (large bulbs), Triumph tulips (medium bulbs) and grape hyacinth (small bulbs).

2. Dig out the planting area to a depth of about 10 inches. Set the largest bulbs in the bottom of the hole, spacing them 4 to 6 inches apart, then backfill the hole with soil until the bulbs are just covered.

3. Next, plant the medium-sized bulbs. Don't worry about planting right over the bulbs in the first layer; the shoots of the bottom bulbs will find their way to the surface. Backfill the hole to barely cover these bulbs with soil.

4. Now plant the smallest bulbs. Fill in the hole with soil so the area is slightly higher than the surrounding garden -- you want excess water to drain away, not sit in a puddle over the bulbs.

In just a few minutes you've just set the stage for a dramatic and colorful spring show!


7 thoughts on “Layer Bulbs for Big Color in a Small Space”

  • Dan Verdier

    Interesting and informative; thank you.

    How about some tips on planting to keep bulbs from being dug up? We have chipmunks that like crocus bulbs.

  • Erin

    One suggestion would be to put chicken wire over the bulb in the hole. This will prevent the chipmunk from reaching the bulb but still have enough space for the bulb to sprout through the openings in the wire.

  • John

    I use bird netting to cover my bulbs. Stretch it over the area on the ground, and then fasten it with landscape staples. Once you see your shoots coming up, simple pull it off and toss it.



    • Suzanne DeJohn

      Hi Dennis, I'm assuming you mean fall-planted, spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils. These bulbs should be planted as soon as the ground is cool. In most parts of the country, this would be around the time of the first frosts, when evening temperatures average between 40° to 50° F. If you've ordered bulbs from American Meadows, they'll be shipped to you at the proper planting time. --Suzanne

  • B Malecki

    I purchase black pepper in bulk at stores like Costco and spread over the newly planted bulbs. The squirrels in my area will not even walk on the dirt because of the strong order. Several people have tried it and it worked. Don't know if it would work with chipmunks. Good luck.

  • JENN

    what is the best way to prevent fire ants from returning and infesting around my bulbs?

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