How To Select & Plant Fall Bulbs
Do you want beautiful blooms come springtime?
Now is the time to start thinking about planting fall bulbs. When planted correctly, and at the right time of the year, bulbs such as Tulips, Irises and Daffodils will make your springtime garden a glorious sight to behold.
At Property Services Landscape of Leesburg, Virginia, we recommend the following bulbs for the Northern Virginia Climate:
Tulips: According to Wikipedia: “Tulips are spring-blooming perennials that grow from bulbs. Depending on the species, tulip plants can be between 4 inches (10 cm) and 28 inches (71 cm) high.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip
Did you know that there are over 76 species of tulips?
Daffodils: According to wikipedia: “Narcissus /nɑrˈsɪsəs/ is a genus of predominantly spring perennial plants in the Amaryllidaceae (amaryllis) family. Various common names including daffodil,[notes 1] daffadowndilly, narcissus, and jonquil are used to describe all or some members of the genus.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_(plant)
Did you know that daffodils are native to certain parts of Northern Africa, Southwestern Europe and The Mediterranean?
Irises: According to Wikipedia, ” As well as being the scientific name, iris is also very widely used as a common name for all Iris species, as well as some belonging to other closely related genera.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_(plant)
Did you know the word Iris means rainbow in Greek and is the name of the Greek Goddess of the rainbow?
At Property Services Landscape some of our favorite fall bulbs for planting are Tulips, Daffodils and Irises.
Tulips: Darwin Hybrid Tulip
Daffodils: Apricot Daffodils
Iris: Dutch Iris
If you plan to purchase your own bulbs to plant Property services Landscape recommends the following local nurseries:
Meadow Farms: https://www.meadowsfarms.com/Garden-Centers/Garden-Center-Locations/Leesburg.aspx
Blue Mont Nurseries: http://www.bluemountnursery.com/
So what are the right conditions for planting bulbs?
Timing is paramount for the successful planting of fall bulbs in your Leesburg or Ashburn Yard. Ideally, you want to plant bulbs about six weeks before the ground freezes. Here in Loudoun County, the first predicted freeze is November 1st, 2015, according to frost and freeze dates from http://www.howdogardener.com/439-2/freeze-and-frost-dates. This means you will want to plant your Tulips, Irises, Daffodils or any other fall bulb in your Loudoun Garden sometime in late October; preferably the week of October 18th-24th.
Another way to predict the best timing to plant bulbs is when nighttime temperatures consistently hover between fifty and forty degrees Fahrenheit.
Bulbs do not like excessively wet areas so make sure that your garden bed has good drainage, otherwise the bulb may rot. Also, ensure that your Aldie or Purcellville soil is ripe for planting.
Loosen the soil for planting with a garden shovel and check for nutrients. An easy way to do this is to observe the color of the soil. The soil of Northern Virginia is deplete in most nutrients, and high in iron oxide, giving the soil the red color and clay like consistency so typical of Northern Virginia. For more information on basic planting, and the soil of Northern Virginia, Ultisol, please click here: http://propertyserviceslandscape.com/news/how-to-plant-perennials/
If the soil is lumpy and reddish, add in peat moss and other organic material to prepare the bed for planting. Check for twigs, rocks and other debris while digging and remove.
Depth and Spacing:
The general rule is to plant bulbs three times deeper than their actual size and three bulb sizes apart; always plant bulbs with the pointy end of the bulb facing the soil. Bulbs, once flowered, will look best clustered together rather than separated by large distances. A good tip is to always group like bulbs together and plant taller bulbs behind shorter ones. Check the label for bloom heights and remember to keep the label with the bulbs so you don’t, for instance, mix orange and purple lilies together. Again, just as bulbs look best when planted with like blooms, this also goes for color.
It is not necessary to fertilize bulbs after planting and harmful to plant bulbs if fertilizer is added to the bulb, as this may damage the bulb.
Covering the Bulb:
When it is time to cover your Tulips or Irises with soil, remember not to compress the soil too tightly. When soil is compressed too tightly water cannot get in.
Do a light watering after the bulb is planted in your Northern Virginia Yard. It is not necessary to water continuously once the bulb has been planted.
Before your bulbs come in for the spring, Property Services Landscape of Loudoun County, recommends you spread a layer of compost above the bulbs. This will help provide optimal growing conditions.
When the blooms die out, clip the dead flowers but do not clip the stems. It is important that the stems gather nutrients from the soil and sun to store for the next springtime. Once the stems turn brittle and yellow cut them back to encourage growth for the next growing season.
Long Term Care:
If your bulbs are perennials, meaning that they return year after year, you may need to dig up the bulbs if overcrowding of the plant occurs. This can happen with many perennial bulbs, but the beauty is that once dug up you can replant the bulbs in another section of your Loudoun Garden, or even share with a neighbor or friend.
To check if your bulbs are perennials, click here:
If your perennial bulbs are dying out, or not returning check for the following:
• Too much Shade
• Improper Drainage
• Premature cutting back of flowers and stems
There is nothing quite like the first blooms of springtime in Loudoun County. With a little planning and care your Daffodils, Tulips and Irises will look lovely come springtime. If you have any questions, be sure to contact Brian Wedemeyer, of Property Services Landscape of Leesburg, Virginia. If you lack the time, or you’d rather leave your bulb planting to Loudoun County’s Premier Landscaping Service then give Property Services Landscape a call and let us plant your bulbs in preparation for a beautiful spring! Read about our Landscape Design Services.
Property Services Landscape is owned and operated by Brian Wedemeyer, Leesburg native. Property Services Landscape serves the following towns: Leesburg, Ashburn, Aldie, Broadlands, Hillsboro, Lansdowne, Lincoln, Lovettsville, Middleburg, Philomont, Round Hill, Bluemont, Upperville, Purcellville, Hamilton, Waterford, and surrounding northern Virginia areas.