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DAFFODILS, TULIPS AND OTHER BULBS
Bulbs are among the most popular of all flowering plants for the garden. Bulbs have long been renowned for their beauty, their hardiness and their variety. This article provides a small sampling of the many types of bulb plants available to the average gardener.
The muscari, or grape hyacinth, is one of the most popular of all bulb varieties, and it has been for many years. The grape hyacinth features narrow, grassy leaves that appear in the fall and can survive through the cold and snow of winter. The leaves of the grape hyacinth are small, urn shaped and blue in color, and they grow on attractive eight inch tall spikes. The flowers on the grape hyacinth bloom in the spring of the year, and these bulbs should be planted in the fall in order to bloom the spring. The bulbs of the grape hyacinth should be planted two inches deep and three inches apart for best results. The grape hyacinth prefers full sun or light shade, and it benefits from regular watering during its growth and bloom cycles.
The daffodil may be the most easily recognizable of all bulb plants, and it rewards its gardener with a generous display of beautiful blooms. Besides the traditional white and yellow varieties, daffodils also come in shades of orange, apricot, pink and cream. Daffodil bulbs should be planted twice as deep as they are tall, and they should be spaced between six and eight inches apart. Daffodils benefit from full sun and regular watering during their growth and bloom periods.
Tulips may just be the most well known and easily recognized of all bulb plants. Indeed, in the minds of many tulips are synonymous with bulb plants. The tulip has long been prized for its beauty, and tulips continue to be one of the most popular types of flowers among casual gardeners and professional growers alike.
In addition, tulips are among the most hybridized of all flowers, with hybrids available in a staggering array of shapes, sizes, colors and textures. Some of the most popular tulip hybrids include pastels, spotted tulips, bicolor tulips and tricolor tulips. There are also hybrids in the brightest hues, and even a variety that is almost black in color. The tulip comes in a variety of shapes as well. In addition to the classic egg shaped bloom, there are varieties with blossoms resembling the shapes of peonies and lilies.
The blooming season for most varieties of tulips runs from mid to late spring. Most tulips need a period of extended cold in order to look and bloom their best. Feeding with a high quality, nitrogen rich fertilizer will encourage multiple blooming. The fertilizer should be applied before the first bloom for best results.
In mild climates, it is best to refrigerate tulip bulbs for six weeks before they are planted. While it is possible for tulip bulbs to remain in the ground, most gardeners treat them as annuals and replant them each year. Doing so is often the best way to get the best blooms year after year.
Tulips like full sun, and they benefit from a regular watering schedule during their growing and blooming periods. It is best to plant tulip bulbs in the fall, and tulip bulbs should be planted three times as deep as the bulb is wide. Therefore, a 2" wide bulb would be planted 6" deep. It is important to leave sufficient space between the planted bulbs as well, from four to eight inches depending on the size of the bulb.