Daffodils - Knowledgebase Question

Hayward, CA
Avatar for JoyceK730
Question by JoyceK730
October 28, 1997
This is my first year planting bulbs. I found out that I
know nothing about it. I want to start out right. Can you
give me the do's and don'ts of bulb planting?

Answer from NGA
October 28, 1997
Your best bet is to plant bulbs that will naturally do well in your region; these include cannas, gladiolus, iris, and dahlias. These summer-flowering bulbs are planted in the spring; they can be left in the ground in regions where the ground does not freeze--or they can be dug up and stored over the winter.

To grow the classic spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, hyacinth, and crocus, you need to do some extra work. These bulbs need a certain amount of chilling, which they won't get in your climate. To mimic cooler climates, place these bulbs in a paper bag in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 weeks before planting. You'll need to repeat this chilling next fall--dig up the bulbs, place them in the 'fridge for 4+ weeks, and replant. Daffodils usually survive and continue to flower without being dug and chilled.

General guidelines for planting bulbs:

Check out local garden centers; when bulbs are available locally it's a good indication that it's time to plant in your region.

Plant in well-drained soil. Follow label instructions for depth of planting--it's different for each bulb. A general rule of thumb is to plant at a depth 3 times the diameter of the bulb.

You can add bonemeal or Bulb Booster to the planting hole; never add strong fertilizer or manure.

After flowering, trim dead flowers but leave foliage to die back naturally.

Water well after planting.

For your information: you are in USDA zone 9 (Sunset zone 17).

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