There is nothing that brings in Spring like a mass of beautiful tulips growing in your garden. But How do you plant tulips? Are there techniques to. make sure they thrive, bloom and return? Here is a quick Planting Tulips Guide for any gardener, with some tips and tricks.
How to Grow Tulips 101
Before you plant your tulips
Growing tulips is not super difficult, but there are a few things you need to consider. Before you get started:
When to Buy Tulip Bulbs – In most zones, you can plant your bulbs in Fall. It’s best to buy your bulbs ahead of time (most suppliers ship in early fall).
How to Store Tulip Bulbs – If you receive or buy your bulbs and you are not ready to plant, store them in a dry, dark and well ventilated area.
Where Should I Buy my Bulbs? – There is a huge (literally) different between the bulbs you buy at your local home store, and ones you can purchase from a flower farm or online importer. You want to make sure you buy from a quality source, and we recommend you buy size 12+ bulbs.
To Chill or Not To Chill – most tulips need 5-8 weeks of chill at or below 40 degrees F in order to bloom. If you live in warmer areas where the environment will not provide this tulip chilling period, you will need to put them in your refrigerator.
Prepping your tulip panting bed
You have to provide a happy home for your tulip bulbs. What does that mean? Choose a well draining area, that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Here are some required steps for your tulip bed:
Loosen the soil with a tiller or garden fork down to 18 inches.
Add compost to give the soil a healthy texture and nutrients.
Fertilize with a 9-9-6 mix. Bonemeal is the best fertilizer for tulips and most other bulbs.
Planting the Tulip Bulbs
Tulips are fairly forgiving, and different varieties have different spacing and depth requirements. A good rule of thumb is 4-6 time the size of the tulip bulb in depth. As far as spacing goes, we like our tulips in tight bunches, and typically plant 1-2 bulb widths apart or 3 or so inches for a full look. You can use a bulb dibbler/dibble or a garden scoop for small quantities, or for larger areas, just dig a flat area at the required bulb depth.
Make sure you place the bulbs pointy side up to insure fast growth. Tulips will still grow if planted upside down, just a bit slower 🙂
Ok, ok, out of all the flowers we grow, dahlias are our absolute favorite. We have learned quite a bit over the years, and these beautiful ladies are hard to maintain during the hot, hot central California summer. This page and all. our posts are dedicated to those who love these beautiful flowers and want to grow them in the garden to adorn their landscape, as well as cut them for amazing flow bouquets.
Pruning your lavender is critical to plant health and the longevity of the plant. When proper care is applied to your plants, lavender can last upwards of 20 years! Pruning is required, and there is definitely a technique you must follow. Without this annual care, your lavender will grow long and lanky, and typically split. Here are the steps:
Steps for Pruning Lavender Varieties
Look for the woody growth. Old growth turns brown and woody, and this is your key reference point for the pruning. Typically, plants in year two of growth will have this established growth.
Prune the soft growth. Measure up about 3 inches from the woody growth you have identified on your lavender, and this soft growth area will be your target pruning point.
Get the shape right. The result of pruning your lavender should be a dome or mound looking bush.
Deadhead during growing season. For certain varieties, a quick deadhead prune can urge a second flowering and bloom.
How Not To Prune Your Lavender
Pruning your lavender is quite simple once you know the technique. But there are certain things you should not do.
Don’t cut into the woody stems at the heart of your plant. This old growth grows slow, and may not grow new stems at all.
Don’t prune in fall. New growth will die quickly in the cold of Fall and Winter, and stress your lavender plants. Finish up pruning by end of August.
Don’t take off too much. A good rule of thumb is to only remove the top 1/3rd of the plant. Too much more and you risk the health of your lavender.
A quick guide for you to keep your plants healthy, and enjoy the bloom season after season.
Last year was the first year we grew dahlias from seed and I am hooked! This method of dahlia propagation is simple, and creates a great surprise in spring. Why? Dahlia seeds are not true to the mother plant, so every seed is a new and unique variation. You never know what kind you will get! The only way to get a true replica of your mother plant is to divide the tuber, or take cuttings (Dahlia Propagation Through Cuttings article). You get such a broad and wide range of dahlia flowers from planting seed, it is truly amazing, and you can keep the variations you like, dig up that dahlia tuber, and propagate for more.
The Steps – Growing Dahlias with Seed
The dahlia from seed method is simple, and the dahlia seeds grow fast. Here is how to propagate dahlias from seed:
Find a pot or seed tray and fill it with a seedling mix or a mix of soil and vermiculite.
Wet the medium and pock holes with a seed planter/dibber that are about 1/2″ deep, and about an inch or so apart.
Place your seeds in the holes and cover with soil mix.
The seeds will germinate in about 2 weeks, but if you apply bottom heat with a seed mat, it will speed up the process (This season mine popped in 7 days).
Water daily, and provide plenty of light, either with a grow light or place in a south facing window.
Soon you will have a whole set of seedlings.
Once they are about 2-3 inches or their leaves are touching, you can move them to small pots (3 inches) and continue to grow.
Before you move the little propagated dahlias to the garden, “harden them off” by exposing them to the outdoors, gradually over a week more and more.
Pro Tip – When the dahlias you grow from seed are 12-18″ tall, snip the center growth bud with garden snips/scissors. This will encourage branching and give you a bush with more flowers!
Wait for the fun!
These dahlias from seed will grow an amazing tuber you can lift if you like the variety you have produced. This tuber will produce the exact flower, and you can then use tuber division to multiply you bounty.
Ah, the beautiful Snapdragon. We have grown them for a few seasons, and have learned a thing or two on how to produce this beautiful, constant blooming flower. We will outline how to grow Snapdragons through a tried and true method. First off, for best success, you have to start them indoors. So find a nice south facing window, or get a grow light and heat mat to get started. Here are some steps.
Growing snapdragon seedlings.
Sow your snapdragon seeds indoors 8-12 weeks before the last frost using seeds procured from a reputable seed provider (Johnny’s is my preferred seed provider).
Sow the seeds thinly and press them into the top of the soil (they need light to germinate)
Keep the soil moist and at around 65 degrees F
The seedlings will pop in one or two weeks.
The seedlings need plenty of light at this stage to grow, so insure a nice window setting or a grow light. Note: they need rest, so don’t leave your light on 24 hours a day. 16 hours is fine.
Once they have 2 set of leaves, thin them out to one plant per cell in your growing tray or pots.
To encourage better branching and more flowers, pinch the tops off when the seedlings reach 3-4 inches tall.
Feed them some fertilizer at 3-4 weeks.
Harden off your seedlings by slowly exposing them to the outdoors over a week.
Transplant the hardened-off plants to the garden after the last heavy frost. Snapdragons can tolerate light frost.
That’s it! A quick to guid to growing snapdragons, one of our favorites. Enjoy your flowers in a bed or for cutting throughout the growing season.