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How to Plant Wildflowers
Step by step instructions on how to plant your wildflower seeds.
Find mixtures for your region, or for special uses such as dry areas, partial shade, attracting animals, low growing, and more.
Over 75 choices that will bloom in the second year and for years to come.
Over 110 choices for fast color, such as poppies, cosmos, sunflowers, zinnia, and many more.
Help the birds, bees, butterflies & hummingbirds by planting wildflowers.
Wildflower seeds native to your region. Support local wildlife with native wildflowers.
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Perennial Planting Guide
Step by step instructions on how to plant your bare root or potted perennials when they arrive.
Fall Flower Bulb Planting Guides
Step by step instructions on how to plant your fall-planted flower bulbs when they arrive.
Let's Do Lawns Differently
Less water, less mowing, and no pesticides
How to plant a cover crop
Learn about varieties which help to replenish nutrients to your soil.
Thrives in areas with cold freezing winters and hot summers.
Thrives in areas with hot temperatures.
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by Suzanne DeJohn
Dahlias are easy to grow and create a huge visual impact
Learn how to plant bulbs! Spring-planted, summer-blooming bulbs, such as Gladiolus, Begonias and Dahlias, are some of the easiest and most rewarding plants to grow in your garden. Here are some guidelines to help you get your bulbs off to a good start.
Many spring-planted bulbs originate from tropical climates and won't tolerate cold temperatures. Wait to plant these tender bulbs until all danger of frost is past and the soil temperature is above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Most bulbs should be planted directly in the garden or containers, but Begonias should be started several weeks before bringing outdoors to ensure summer blooms. Learn more about growing Begonias in our blog.
If you must store the bulbs more than a few days before planting, read the instructions in Storing Your Bulbs Before Planting in Spring.
Calla Lilies are a colorful and elegant addition to any garden.
Preparing the Soil
Unless otherwise noted, bulbs prefer well-drained soil — soggy soil will lead to rot. If water puddles in the soil after a heavy rain, consider planting the bulbs in raised beds or in containers. For best results follow the recommendations for light levels; for example, bulbs that prefer full sun may grow leggy and topple over if planted in shade.
Loosen soil in the planting bed to a depth of at least 8". Although bulbs contain all the nutrients they need to grow and bloom this season, you may want to mix some compost into the planting bed to help improve drainage. If you want to add fertilizer, mix it into the soil at this time. (Avoid adding fertilizer directly to the planting hole because concentrated fertilizer can burn roots.)
Using a trowel or bulb planter, dig a hole to the recommended depth. This depth is measured from the top of the bulb to the soil line. For example, if the instructions say to plant the bulb 3" deep, and the bulb is 2" high, dig a hole about 5" deep. Plant the bulb by placing it in the hole, then backfill with soil, firming the soil to eliminate air pockets. Which end is up? If the bulb has a pointed end, plant this end up. If you are unsure which is the, plant bulbs on their side — they'll know which way to grow. Bulbs planted with the wrong end up will still grow, but they may take longer than usual to emerge. Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil around the bulbs.
It may take weeks or even a month for the growth on new bulbs to emerge. How quickly a bulb grows depends on a number of factors, including the species, degree of dormancy and temperature of the soil.
Other than that, most bulbs are relatively maintenance-free during the growing season.
Planting depth is measured from the soil line to the top of the bulb.
Most bulbs (like Gladiolus) should be planted pointy side up. If you're not sure, plant the build sideways and it will find its way.