Saturday, November 12, 2011

No Need to Dig Deep for Tulips

I wish I had William B. Miller’s job.  He’s head of the Flowerbulb Project at Cornell.   It’s his job to plant bulbs and see how they grow best.   In a recent report, (see Cornell Chronicle Vol 43 #12) he recommends top planting for tulips, rather than digging down 6 to 8 inches, like we’re used to doing.  He says that gardeners only need to till about two inches of soil, put the bulbs on top and then cover with 2”-4” of mulch.   Don’t skimp on the mulch, though.  Too little can make them vulnerable to critters.

photo from
 Don’t you love it when the lazier way works best?

The best time to plant bulbs here in New York is from mid September through mid November.   Planting in December is okay, as long as the ground isn’t frozen.  Ideally, you want to have them in the ground a few weeks before that, to give them a chance to form some roots.

This year I’m planting Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides).   They’re supposed to be deer resistant. 

I also got some “Early Surprise” tulips.  They’re definitely not deer resistant, so I have to remember to plant them in the back.   I may add a little bulb fertilizer, because that’s what William B. Miller does.  I’m also gonna add some cayenne pepper.  That’s supposed to repel the squirrels.   

Did you get your bulbs in the ground yet?


tina said...

I just about gave up on tulips as they rarely come back well for me. Some cultivars do. I do like the lazy way for sure. I have a few bulbs to go-bulbs I dug up while planting other plants. I hate it when that happens.

David said...

Nice post.
Tulips are a rare treasure down here in Houston, but I know a number of brave souls who plant them every year. Stunning shots.

David/ :-)

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Good choice. They are very pretty. I planted some dahlia bulb a month ago but they have not yet shoot at all.

Nyack Florist said...

We just got them in. After that crazy snow we were worried but it was nice enough for us to plant!