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Planting and Care
Of all the wonderful spring bulbs of Holland, Tulips have long been the top favorite throughout America. With an amazingly wide range of colors, varieties and blooming seasons from which to choose, it’s possible to find just the right Tulip for most every planting location. By carefully planning your plantings, you can be sure of having bright outdoor color plus plenty of spring bouquets from late March through the end of May.
All Tulips like the sun. However, the best locations – particularly for late flowering varieties – are usually those where they will get a maximum of morning sun, but will not be exposed to the hot afternoon sun for an extended period. The proper planting depth and spacing for your Tulips may be found in the Planting Guide chart, as well as on every bag in which your bulbs are packed. If you plan to plant later-blooming annuals or perennials amongst your Tulips, you may want to increase the planting depths, which in no way affects the flowery abundance and overall performance of your Tulips.
Cut off the flowers as they begin to fade to prevent formation of seed. Energy expended in seed formation tends to weaken bulbs for future years. Foliage should be left uncut until it has ripened, since it is the leaves which provide nourishment for bulbs to produce future growth and blooming.
Daffodils… Jonquils… Narcissus. Don’t get confused by all of the names. Most North Americans call them Daffodils… or, perhaps, if they are all yellow, Jonquils. But they’re all members of the Narcissus family. They grow beautifully throughout North America; and are great for naturalizing; multiply to bring additions beauty each year, lasting for generations; and provide outstanding blooms for spring bouquets. And if you live in an area for deer, rabbits or other animals love to eat your spring flowers, Daffodils are a must, since no part of the Daffodil is eaten by animals of any kind.
As Daffodils increase annually and produce more flowers each year, it is recommended that you fertilize with a top dressing of bonemeal or a commercial fertilizer when planting them. Then follow through with an additional feeding each spring and fall.
Plant your Daffodils as soon as possible after they are received from Holland, as they need to form a good root system prior to winter. They will continue to multiply over the years, and will not need to be lifted and divided until clumps become crowded and fail to produce large blooms.
Before lifting bulbs for dividing, wait until foliage has withered. Then carefully dig up the clump. After pulling the bulbs apart, break off any smaller ones that are not tightly fastened to the mother bulb. Separate the bulbs by size, and replant immediately. The larger ones will produce flowers the next spring. Smaller offsets can be placed in a nursery bed for two to three years until they grow to blooming size, or mixed among the larger bulbs while they gain in size.
Daffodil bulbs frequently have multiple heads, indicating they will produce multiple stems. Many are wonderfully fragrant.
Few flowers can match Dutch Hyacinths for beauty, color, and delightful fragrance. In most settings a cluster of at least five bulbs of the same color and variety will look best. Hyacinths are excellent in front of evergreens; and long walks, paths, or driveways. They are elegant on their own, but can be effectively interplanted with other spring flowers and ground covers. Because Hyacinths have blooms completely around their stems, they are ideal for situations where flowers will be viewed from all sides.
After your Hyacinths have bloomed, cut off the flower stem, but allow the foliage to ripen and wither before removing. For increased blooming in subsequent years, it is recommended that you give your Hyacinth beds a top dressing of a commercial fertilizer both in the fall and early spring.
Lilies... Their colorful flowers are prized for their elegant displays in early to midsummer, when there is a lull in the garden. Easy to grow in full sun or light shade, and they are perfect for naturalizing. Good drainage is important for Lilies, so plant them in a well-drained soil, 6-9" deep and 6-9" apart. Asiatic Lilies bloom several weeks before the highly fragrant Oriental varieties.
OTHER DUTCH BULBS
Grape Hyacinths... You can plant Grape Hyacinths (Muscari) in sun or shade. If these bulbs are planted early, they will often produce foliage before freezing weather starts. This is their natural habit, so don't worry if you see foliage in the fall. Leave the bulbs undisturbed from year to year. They will multiply freely.
Wood Hyacinths... Graceful Wood Hyacinths (Scilla campanulata) are very easy to grow and maintain. Leave them in the ground to bloom and multiply year after year.
Poppy Anemones... Because Poppy Anemones are not winter-hardy below 0 degrees F (-18 degrees C), they should be stored in their bags in an area where the temperature will be about 40-50 degrees F (5-10 degrees C), and then planted in the spring after the last frost. In subsequent years, dig them up in late fall to early winter after several hard frosts and store again during the winter. Soaking the tubers for several hours prior to planting often helps them break into growth more rapidly.
Mountain Bells... Mountain Bells (Allium moly, A. neapolitanum, A. ostrowskianum) are ideal to bridge the season between spring and summer flowers. They bloom in late spring and early summer and have multi-flowered clusters on 10-14" stems. Leave undisturbed for best results. Because of their scent, rodents and deer won't touch them.
Giant Alliums...Giant Alliums such as Persian Blue (Allium aflatunense) and Drumsticks (Allium sphaerocephalum) thrive anywhere and multiply without any special attention. Leave undisturbed and lift them only when they become too crowded to bloom freely. Pleasing fragrance and striking in the landscape. Not eaten by rodents or deer.
Pink Buttercups... Pink Buttercups (Oxalis adenophylla), which are sometimes called Wood Sorrel, are hardy and beautiful. These low-growing bulbs have an extended blooming season lasting from May through July. The gray-green foliage makes a wonderful ground cover and foil for other flowers. They make excellent complements to the lavender and purple-flowered Alliums and early summer perennials.
Tall Dutch Iris... Tall Dutch Iris (Iris hollandica) bloom in late spring, but the foliage usually appears several weeks earlier. They are best planted in groups. The bulbs can be left undisturbed until they become overcrowded, at which time they should be lifted after foliage has died down. Clean and store bulbs in a dry, cool, dark place and replant in the fall.
Crown Imperials... Brecks Giant Crown Imperial bulbs (Fritillaria imperialis) should be treated with special care. Soil should be loosened to a depth of at least 12" and sand, small pebbles or other drainage material worked into the bottom 2-3" of your bed or planting hole. Cover this with another 2-3" of loose soil and then set the bulb on top of this. Crown Imperials grow best in family groups and should be left undisturbed from year to year. Their scent will help to keep moles and rodents out of the soil around them.
Grecian Windflowers... Grecian Windflowers (Anemone blanda) have daisy-shaped early spring blooms and vivid green fernlike foliage. For best results, plant them in naturalized areas, rock gardens, mixed borders or in clusters, preferable in sunny spots. Leave them undisturbed for perennial blooming. It is also a good idea to plant Grecian Windflowers amongst low ground covers which will protect them when they go dormant.