Fall planting for spring bulbs!

white tulips in blThere is nothing more exciting than seeing the first crocus peek from the cold soil. It ushers in the beginning of spring; and let’s face it we usually need a little pick-me-up right around then. Spring bulbs are a great way to start off the growing season right!

When Oregon’s soil temperatures begin dipping below 60°F, it’s time to start planting bulbs! Portland metro area is much warmer in the winter than eastern Oregon (eastern Oregon should start in early September). So, now that you know fall is the time to plant bulbs in Portland, Oregon, it’s time to get busy!

There are hundreds of varieties of bulbs in fall; the graph below covers a few of the most common bulbs. A general rule of thumb is to dig the depth of any bulb, three times the size of the diameter plus a little extra to fit in soil amendments. For instance, if a bulb is 2″ around dig 6 inches down. Amend the planting pocket with compost, pumice and fertilizer (opt for a slow release such as a 12-6-6). Next, plant the bulb root side down in the soil. Cover your bulbs with the dug up soil and water throughly.

Use bulbs sparingly in your landscape, as they may overwhelm your landscape. If you can’t get enough bulbs, we recommend having a dedicated bed for bulbs, rather than plating them through out your landscape. Another good design option is choosing a focal area, such as planting tulips along a pathway.