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Bulbs for Spring or Fall

It’s been a while since I’ve sent out a newsletter, but I hope to be more faithful in the coming months.

Did you know that some bulbs, tubers and roots can be planted in either the Spring or Fall?  As a rule, Spring-blooming bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, should be planted in September or October when the soil temperatures have cooled.  Summer-blooming beauties such as dahlia and gladiolus are best planted in the Spring after all danger of frost has passed. 

But - there are a few bulbs that can be planted in either Fall or Spring.
Here are some examples that we sell:

Anemones:  In warm areas Anemones are usually planted in the Fall and should bloom by mid-Spring and continue steadily for eight to ten weeks.  In colder areas they are planted in the Spring and treated as summer blooming annuals.  Coronaria and De Caen have poppy-like blooms, and St. Brigid and Blanda (“Grecian Windflowers”) have daisy-like blooms.  To encourage them to sprout faster, soak your Anemone bulbs for 2-4 hours or overnight in warm water.  

Astilbes:  Astilbes are another bulb you can plant either in the Fall or Spring as long as the weather is not too hot.  Astilbes planted in Fall will usually bloom the following Spring.  You can also plant in the Spring after danger of severe frost has passed, and they will flower in June or early July.  Astilbes are one of the easiest flowers to grow and are virtually pest free. They prefer light to full shade.

Daylilies:  Virtually fool-proof, Daylilies (Hemerocallis) can grow from zones 1 to 11, making them one of the most adaptable plants in the garden.  In the South, Daylilies are typically planted in the Spring; but you can also plant them in the Fall.  Gardeners with long stretches of freezing weather should wait until Spring to plant or transplant Daylilies so there is plenty of time to get established before winter.  However, Daylilies are such tough plants, that even in the North, most can be planted anytime from Spring through Fall.  But avoid planting Daylilies in summer, when hot weather can cause the roots to rot.

Hostas:  Hostas (Plantain Lilies) are low-maintenance, shade-tolerant plants and are great for providing color and texture interest in troublesome, dark areas of your garden.  When to plant?  Early Spring or late Summer because then they are in active growth and will take root easily.  But timing isn’t too critical.  If you plant in Fall, be sure to plant several weeks before a hard freeze so the roots have some time to grow. 

Lilies:  Lilies are considered by many to be the most beautiful flower of all.  Although Hybrid Lilies can be grown almost anywhere, since they prefer a moderate amount of winter chilling, they do better in temperate parts of the country.  But if your winters are particularly harsh, we would recommend planting in the early Spring.  Plant lilies as soon as you get them.  Because the bulbs lack the papery covering that is common to other hardy bulbs, they can dry out quickly in storage.

Lycoris:  Lycoris (Spider Lilies) are grown for their showy funnel-shaped flowers, borne on leafless stems from Spring to early autumn depending on where you live.  They can often be quite difficult to get into flower because they require a hot dry resting period during Spring and Summer to promote flowering, but will develop into large clusters if left in the same location for a number of years.  They are best if planted in the Spring - they need as much time as possible to root before entering their normal Fall flowering period.  We do sell these in the Fall; however if they are planted later than late September they will abort their flower until the following year.

Oxalis:  Oxalis (False Shamrock) is another bulb that you can plant either in the Fall or Spring.  They are undemanding plants that grow in rounded clumps of clover-like leaves and 5-petaled flowers.  The bulbs are peculiar, growing together almost like a pine cone in a long bulbous line.  When it's time to plant, you can gently break apart the bulb cone into individual bulbs.  In warmer climates they will grow happily in a sunny location with well-drained soil.  In colder areas, dig in the Fall and store until Spring.  Oxalis likes a moist soil that drains well but does not like to be in a soggy spot.  Bulbs will rot easily if the soil is too wet, so be careful of over watering. 

Species Gladiolas:  Gladiolus Byzantinus, also known as Sword Lily, is an easy to grow species gladiolus with magenta blooms from May to July and naturalizes well.  They can be planted in Fall or early Spring.

Tradescantia:  Better known as Spiderwort, Tradescantia blooms for about 2 months from late Spring to mid-summer.  They have violet-blue to purple, three-petaled 1 1/2" flowers with yellow stamens, lasting only a day.  Tolerant of poor soils, they grow quickly and easily, and since they self-seed, they can be invasive.  They can be planted in the Spring or Fall and in warm regions will go dormant in the summer.

We will be shipping our Spring-planted bulbs until around June 20th.  Some varieties are already sold out, so if you still need summer bloomers, order soon.

Best regards,
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