If you are like me, I really need the cheery color that winter flowers like pansies and cyclamen give during the dark, cold winter months. The only thing better than that is the early signs of spring as the fall planted bulbs emerge and bloom! Did you know you can combine them for non-stop color?
Choose your favorite spring flowering bulbs. Next choose your favorite winter flowers. Mine are Cyclamen for the shade and Pansies for the sun. I always do a red and white theme because I love Christmas. For more information on choosing and growing winter flowers here in the Central Valley, click here.
Tulips are the classic spring bulb. Traditionally they did not fare well in the Central Valley since they require several hundred chill hours in order to bloom well. Tulips found these days have been bred to bloom well the first season of planting, however they need to be replanted every year for the best bloom. Use tulips en mass for the best effect since they don’t show well enough by themselves.
Hyacinth are great for forcing in water, in soil or just planting right in the ground. You would force them for any time you would want them to bloom (just allow 8-10 weeks) or plant in a pot or in the ground for early spring bloom. They are great for over planting with pansies or violas.
Freesias are planted for their unforgettable fragrance. They should be planted in groupings for the best effect. You can also plant them in groundcover, low shrubs or under winter annuals so that they pop up through the other plants when they bloom! Freesias will multiply and rebloom year after year. They hardly require dividing since their bulbs are so small.
Ranunculus can be show stoppers all by themselves. Plant behind shorter annuals such as violas or in the center of a colorbowl for spring. These are the bulbs that keep on giving. They will begin to bloom in spring and when fertilized regularly will bloom until it is too hot for months of color!
Paperwhites are known for their fragrance. Often they are “forced” to bloom at a certain time, usually the holiday season. Imagine the sweet scent and crisp white flowers in your own home! Come into the nursery for instructions on forcing them. Paperwhites can be planted outside and will naturalize and come back year after year. I would recommend dividing them every other year since they are vigorous growers.
Dutch Iris should be planted in groupings for the best effect. You can also plant them in groundcover, low shrubs or under winter annuals so that they pop up through the other plants when they bloom!
Yellow Trumpet Daffodils are the common large flowering yellow daffodils seen in the spring. These are best planted in groups, large or small. Also, you can easily plant them in groundcover or under your favorite winter annuals. Daffodils while naturalize and rebloom for you ever year. Make sure to divide them at least every other year!
It is important to prepare the soil properly. I always believe the a healthy, fertile soil will produce healthy plants. I prepare my soil with Bumper Crop Soil Builder and Rose and Flower fertilizer before planting. This ensures a healthy soil with steady fertilizer for about 3 months.
Now plant your bulbs at the recommended depth. Plant your flowers right over the top! That’s it!
Now enjoy your winter color!