|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?
|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).