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Gardening Questions or Comments?

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Northern Central

When to Plant Flower Bulbs: Northern Central

Optimum Planting Time: September 15th — November
USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5


Region "J" — Northern Central

This lovely area has very cold winters and moderate summers. The moisture level is moderate to dry.

General Instructions:
Plant bulbs in the fall starting when nighttime temperatures stay between 40-50°F. But, be sure to plant approximately six weeks before the ground freezes to allow sufficient time for rooting. Bulbs will root best in cool soil and once rooted undergo natural changes that keep them from freezing. Water your bulbs after planting to help them start the rooting process.

After planting, apply slow release "bulb food" fertilizer on the top of the ground to supply nutrients for the second year's bloom. (Bulbs are already fully charged with energy for peak flowering performance in their first spring bloom season.) Do not put the fertilizer in the hole with the bulb as this may burn the bulb's tender roots. PLEASE NOTE: Modern bone meal generally has little value as a bulb fertilizer and often draws rodents and dogs that dig up the bulbs looking for bones!

After the ground cools or freezes, cover your bulb beds with a lightweight mulch (pine needles, buckwheat hulls, straw or chopped up leaves) 2 — 4 inches thick to help keep down weeds and maintain a consistently cool soil temperature.

Special Note: Because this area may have a greater risk of a dry autumn, a bit of extra water after planting may help the rooting process. When there is little or no snow cover, an extra layer of mulch should help keep the bulbs at a consistent cool temperature after they have rooted, resulting in more beautiful blossoms.

A Sampling of Flower Bulbs for Perennializing: (return for several years)

A Sampling of Bulbs for Naturalizing: (return & multiply)

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