In general, it is best to plant bulbs in the Dallas area after
October 1st. Why? Because each bulb actually contains its flower in
the center of the bulb. It needs time to mature before planting. Planting
bulbs too soon or storing bulbs in hot conditions can kill the flower
inside the bulb, and it won’t bloom ever. (Buy bulbs from reputable
nurseries where they are stored properly in cooler conditions for successful
Do not use a strong fertilizer in
the bulb hole when planting, as it will burn the emerging roots. Use
Bloodmeal when planting; it won’t harm the bulbs (and it’s good for
pansies also). Bloodmeal should be sprinkled above the planting on top
of the soil, not placed into the hole with the bulbs.
BEST TIME TO PLANT BULBS:
Daffodils can be planted as soon as temperatures begin to cool. That may be mid-September, and usually by October 1st. Tulips and hyacinth should be planted between Thanksgiving and the end of December. You can still plant tulips in January, but it is best to do it early in the month. Some bulbs are best planted
in January, such as ranunculus and anemones. Buy selections early and
hold in a cool dry place until ready to plant. Store your bulbs in paper sacks rather than plastic, which will hold moisture.
The best thing you can do for your tulip and hyacinth (and other bulbs)
is to add a 1- to 2-inch layer of Pine Bark Mulch above the bulb planting
area in order to keep the soil temperature even. This will give you
your BEST RESULTS. Pine Bark Mulch is low in acid and, therefore, the
best mulch to use with in your bulb garden area.
Should bulb tips appear on a warm day, be certain to give them extra
For longer tulip bloom, select varieties that are ‘early bloomers’ and
mix them with ‘late spring bloomers’ of a similar color. This will give
you a bloom time that will expand to 4 weeks in your spring garden.
Tulips and hyacinths like at least 3-4 hours (and more) of light. Daffodils require
less light and grow well in areas with more shade.
Daffodils are great bulbs that will do well in Dallas gardens. Probably
99% of daffodils planted will continue to return for 3-4 years. Divide
bulbs after the 3rd or 4th year. It is essential that daffodils get
a dose of bone meal the 2nd year of growth. Daffodils can be planted
from late September right on through until March. They will bloom in
March, no matter what month they are planted, unless an unusual warm
spell hits. Daffodils do well in shady areas.
Garden magazines will suggest Allium Globemaster for the garden (and
it does better up North), but this variety does not do well here without
a great deal of care and ‘babying.’ If you want a good Allium with little
care, select the ‘Purple Sensation’ variety. It is a smaller variety,
and a good performer. It likes full sun. Plant after November 1st. This
plant will bloom in May, and it will return for several years.
Paperwhites take about 5-6 weeks to force into bloom indoors. Outdoors,
paperwhites will bloom in 5-6 weeks’ time. Planted outside, they will
bloom in the fall (if planted in the fall). The more mature the bulb,
the faster they will grow in the garden. Paperwhites planted in October
will take 6 weeks to bloom. Paperwhites planted in November will take
5 weeks to bloom; December, 4 weeks; January, 3 weeks. Put 1 to 2 inches
of Pine Bark Mulch over paperwhites planted in the garden.
When selecting paperwhites for quick bloom, look for the emerging leaf
tip. When planting a bowl of paperwhites, select those that all have
an emerging green tip so they will bloom at the same time. [See Forcing
Bulbs in Water Inside, below.]
After paperwhites bloom inside, cut off blooms, then plant outside.
Paperwhites planted outside can take temperatures of 28°F. ground temperature.
In the spring, paperwhite blooms will last longer than the King Alfred
and Dutch Master bulbs. Yellow paperwhites will take up to 8 weeks to
Forcing Bulbs in Containers Indoors
Hyacinths forced in water containers take about 7 weeks to bloom. Paperwhites
will take about 5-6 weeks. Place bulb in special bulb vase or container
with loose pebbles that will allow bulb to be suspended above the water
in the container. Keep water about ½” below bulb. Roots will ‘reach’
for the water.
Early season bloom forcing in indoor container [start no earlier than
October 15th]: This applies to all hyacinths, all daffodils/narcissus,
and only the Triumph tulips. Fill container with potting soil and place
bulb a little above the soil. Water the soil to provide moisture. Place
a paper bag over the pot (creating darkness) and refrigerate for 8 weeks.
Check weekly to see if the bulbs need water while in the refrigerator.
Remove from refrigerator; plant will take about 2-1/2 weeks to bloom.
Guidelines for Bulbs and Planting/Growing
Tulips and hyacinths need
about 3-4 hours of light. The hyacinth hispanica can grow with slightly
less light. Daffodils are excellent for shady places.
temperature is 45-55°F. for approximately 45 – 60 days. If chilling the bulbs yourself, store them in paper bags in your vegetable crisper. Do not store with food and keep bulbs dry.
Mulch bulbs with pink bark mulch, which is low in acid. Apply about
2 inches of mulch over planting beds to keep the temperature even. Bulbs
will them mature at a similar time. Temperature variations in the soil
(without mulch) will cause erratic maturity and blooming of bulbs.
When planting containers, don’t put more than 2 layers of bulbs. Bulbs
in containers need more water, they can be over crowded. Freezing will
break bulbs that are planted too close to the outside of a container
in winter. Cover pots on freezing cold nights with frost cloth to protect
Other Bulbs – General Information
Ranunculus and anemones – plant in January. If you plant them
too early, they won’t bloom.
Anemones like to be in the sun. Before planting the bulbs, soak
them in water for 30 to 60 minutes until they swell up. Anemones will
bloom in May. They make good cut flowers.
Allium Globemaster does not do well in Dallas soils. [Magazines
mention them.] If attempting them, they should be in a mixture with
peat, put in shade, and baby them.
Purple Sensation Allium is best suited to the Dallas soils and
likes full sun. Plant after November 1st. This allium will bloom in
May and return for many years.
Lycoris can be planted August through November. Red lycoris might
take 2 years before they bloom. Yellow lycoris might take about 3 years
before blooms appear. On both varieties, foliage will appear in June/July
to produce energy for the plant. The pink lycoris might bloom the first
Leucojum Aestivum Gravetye Giant is a white bell-shaped bloom
that does well in shade or sun and blooms in late February or March.
Plant in groups of 5.
Arum Italicum loves the sun. This red berry-bundled-type flower
holds great color in its foliage – better than caladiums in summer.
The blooms appear in May; foliage remains all summer. Plant returns
each year. Grows to about 12 inches.
Potted amaryllis take about 5-6 weeks to bloom.
amaryllis blooms, cut off the flower and stop watering. When the foliage
turns yellow, take out of the pot, put in burlap and put in the garage.
In October, remove dead foliage, plant in container with soil, and 6-7
weeks later it will bloom.
OR After blooming (to plant in garden), continue to water in the container.
In February, take out of pot, cut foliage down, plant in the garden.
The amaryllis will bloom in the fall. [Note: African Amaryllis do not do well outside here.]