The Q&A Archives: Planting Bulbs In The Desert

Question: When do I plant? Do I need to do anything prior to planting and how deep do I plant? Any secrets to planting in the rocky, clay, dry soil?

Answer: Most spring blooming bulbs are planted in October, November or by December at the latest. Bulbs appreciate a rich fertile soil, so incorporate 4-6 inches of compost into your soil before planting. Add a phosphorous source, such as bone meal, to the bottom of the planting holes to promote bloom. Continuing adding compost and fertilizer to your bulb bed every year. The packages that bulbs come in will usually provide planting depths, but lacking that, plant about two times the bulb's diameter. Tulips, daffodils, and crocus require chilling for about 4-6 weeks. Iris, zephyranthes, ranunculus and others require no chilling. (Tulips are generally annuals in the low desert.) Put in the crisper of your refrigerator, but make sure no fruit is in the same compartment. It gives off a gas that encourages the bulbs to grow. Good luck!

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