Fall bulbs for Spring Color
Spring flowers are such a delight after a cold, dark winter; snowdrops can poke up even in the midst of a late winter snowfall. Combine bright, cheerful blooms such as Crocus, Eranthus hyemalis (Winter Aconite), and Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrops) with Hellebores and Andromeda to herald the first signs of spring.
Take advantage of fall planting, while the days are still warm and the soil is softened by early autumn rain showers. Beginning in mid-September, we carry up to 400 different varieties of bulbs.
Tulips are one of the most popular flowers for spring gardens and we stock nearly 150 different tulip cultivars in a variety of colors, heights, and bloom times. Plant groups of early-blooming and late-blooming bulbs for fresh tulips throughout spring.
Petite, early-blooming, species tulips will return reliably from year to year. With their dainty blooms, species tulips add a soft, sweet look in any rock garden and add wonderful perennial color for garden bed borders.
For an arrangement of color from autumn until spring, try planting spring blooming bulbs under a grouping of colorful pansies. The pansies will add color throughout winter, then the bulbs will emerge above them.
Tips for Fall & Spring Bulb Planting
Each type of bulb has a different planting depth; in general it’s approximately three times the diameter of the bulb. Prepare a planting hole a few inches deeper than the recommended planting depth.
Mix compost, pumice and an organic fertilizer high in phosphorus such as bone meal or rock phosphate into the bottom of the hole, then add enough soil to bring the hole to the proper planting depth. Place the bulbs root side down, fill in the planting hole and water thoroughly.
Check out this handy bulb-planting chart; keep it on hand:
Don’t forget bulb fertilizer and soil amendments such as compost and pumice or a bulb planting mix or to provide the proper drainage bulbs require to thrive.
If mass plantings of bulbs are planned, check out our supply of bulb augers. The augers are designed to attach to a hand drill to aid in the bulb planting process by limiting wear and tear on your back, knees and wrists.
There is something so deep-heartedly cheery about fresh flowers in the depth of winter and one of the best ways we know of to bring that beauty into your home is with Freesias, Paperwhites, and Amaryllis — force them indoors and they will bring their colorful (and in some cases fragrant) exuberance that can’t help but brighten dreary winter days.
We carry a selection of these bulbs beginning in mid-September (amaryllis are the last to arrive around mid-October), so stop in and get some of these lovelies for the winter months. Add them to a decorative container as a gift for friends, family, or for yourself!
Amaryllis will bloom six to eight weeks after planting. Keep this in mind when preparing for gift giving and when decorating for holiday get-togethers. If you’re after unusual varieties of Amaryllis, visit us find exotic varieties as well as larger size bulbs to provide repeated blooms.
Forcing Bulbs for Winter Color
Forcing is the process of hastening a plant to maturity, or of growing it to the flowering or fruiting stage out of its normal season. The notes below are excerpted from our handout: Forcing Bulbs. In the full handout, you will find more information on forcing tulip bulbs, hyacinths, daffodils and crocus in soil; forcing Hyacinths, crocus, and narcissus in water; and forcing Amaryllis in containers.
Forcing in Soil
Begin in October by potting the bulbs in clean, sterile plastic pots. Do not bury the bulbs. The "noses" (where the leaves come out) should be exposed. Use high quality potting soil or mix equal parts potting soil, coir fiber and perlite or vermiculite for best results.
Plant the bulbs close together in the pot. Usually 6 tulip bulbs, 3 hyacinths, 6 daffodils, or 15 crocus, will fit into a 6-inch pot. The flat side of the tulip bulb should be placed next to the rim of the pot since the largest leaf will always emerge and grow on that side, producing a more attractive looking pot.
Forcing in Water
Hyacinths, crocus, and narcissus can be forced in water. Special glass vases are made for hyacinths or crocus. The bulb is placed in the upper portion, water in the lower portion. The vase is then kept in a cool, dark room (preferably under 50 degrees F) for four to eight weeks until the root system has developed and the top elongates.
Missed the Summer Bulbs? Get the Plants!
Spring bulbs begin arriving in mid February: fragrant lilies, enormous dahlias, regal gladiolus, hummingbird-attracting crocosmia, and the dramatic prehistoric foliage of elephant ears.
Bulbs, tubers and bare root crowns for many of your favorite late-season blooming perennials are in stock. You can begin planting bulbs in April through May when the danger of frost has passed.
Bulbs require good drainage, so prepare your planting area by amending it with compost and pumice. Wait to plant until your soil is dried out from heavy rains.
We also carry a large selection that have been potted up and are included in our gallon annuals and perennials: Dahlias, Crocosmia and Lilies are available in abundance during the summer months, ready to spruce up your containers or add additional color to your perennial borders and beds.
We carry Old House Dahlias, grown locally by Mark Harvey, who started growing several varieties of this resilient flower in his backyard in Portland in 2003. Today, he offers more than 175 varieties of dahlias! At Portland Nursery, we support local growers like Old House Dahlias by carrying a bountiful selection of their beautiful and unique varieties.