Getting the Most of Your Spring Bulbs

In my previous post about forcing Amaryllis bulbs I talked about how you can get flowers inside anytime from plants that have a bulb.  Amaryllis is a tropical bulb, which means that if you live in an area that has a cold winter, it will die if you put it in the ground over winter.  However, you could force tulips, hyacinth or other typical bulbs like I do and then add them to your outdoor flower beds.  This way you get to enjoy the flowers inside once and then outdoors every spring.  I like to buy a bag of hyacinth in the fall, put them in the bottom of my refrigerator in wet soil or sand (damp not soaking wet) for a month.  Then, as winter starts, I take one bulb out and force it.  If you do this you will notice the first bulb or two will take much longer go grow and flower.  Bulbs need a rest period, and one month is about the minimum.  Once the bulbs flower, I keep them in a small pot with soil and keep them growing in a window until spring.  I recommend dead heading the plants.  This means cut off the flower bud that is left.  You do not want the bulb using energy to make seeds.  I then plant the bulbs outside.  Make sure you water the bulbs (I do it before I cover the bulbs with soil) with a high phosphorus fertilizer.  This is important for two reasons.  First it will encourage the bulb to grow roots now, and second the phosphorus will encourage big healthy flowers next spring.

I am using fox farm bush doctor root drench this year, it has a high phosphorus percentage and microbes which will result in bigger and more flowers next spring.

Good Growing,
Dr. E. R. Myers

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