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Spring Blooms from Fall Planting

Spring Blooms from Fall Planting

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Larry Sagers Horticultural Specialist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point Office © All Rights Reserved

Call Gretchen Campbell at 801 768 7443 to register for classes or go online at and click on the education link.

Flower Bed Design with Larry Sager and USU Extension Service Advanced Master Gardeners Wonderful flower gardens don't just happen. They are created by careful gardeners. Learn how to plan and plant flowerbeds that are aesthetically pleasing and that will bloom from early spring through autumn. Fee: $40.00 Tuesdays, September 9, 16, 23, 30, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM Join us in the Oak Room on the lower level of the Thanksgiving Gardens Visitors Center

Buying bulbs

When I give spring tours at Temple Square or at Thanksgiving Point, the inevitable question is, “Why don’t my flowers look like these?” The first and foremost way to ensure good, quality blooms from fall planted bulbs is to select high quality bulbs. Bulb size is usually directly proportional to the size of the bloom that you get. Small bulbs often do not bloom the first year and are a disappointment to many gardeners.

Always compare the bulb sizes. Larger bulbs produce larger blooms. The large tulips and other flowers you see at the above mentioned gardens are that size because they buy large bulbs. Small bulbs never make large flowers and may not even bloom the year you plant them.

Be certain you also compare the way they measure the size. Some are measured by diameter, others by circumference. Compare the sizes on an equivalent basis. A bulb with a diameter of one inch is more than three times the size of one with a circumference of one inch.

Choose firm bulbs that are free from deep cuts or scars. Bulbs that are badly molded or discolored should likewise be discarded. The paper covering called “the tunic” is not essential for growth, so even if it is torn or missing it is of no concern.

Watch out for inexpensive bulb collections. The advertisements promote hundreds of bulbs for some very low price. They include a few tulips, daffodils and other desirable bulbs but when you examine the contents, the best bulbs are only a small part of the total.

The bulk of the bulbs are usually grape hyacinths or Star of Bethlehem or other worthless bulbs. These low-priced bulbs cause further problems when they spread and become very weedy. They are almost impossible to remove.

All spring flowering bulbs need to be planted in the fall. Along with them, they need to have many other flowers that are winter annuals, biennials and spring blooming perennials to keep them looking good so enjoy them each next spring.

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