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New To Planting Bulbs - Many Questions for The Experts!

Posted by pdxwindjammer Portland, OR (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 7, 13 at 15:16

I have always been a vegetable gardener, not a flower gardener. I recently sheet mulched a large area of my front yard so I could plant ornamentals and vegetables together. I have planted mostly perennials that attract beneficial insects and a few bulbs.

I used 11 yards of premium 5 way compost as soil for my planting beds and everything did very well in it this year.

Here are a few questions:

What are your favorite online catalogs for bulbs with affordable prices and shipping?

Are there are bulbs that will thrive with hardly any sun? We have a tall birch and I have a small raised bed behind it that is shaded most of the day. I would like to plant some bulbs that would be good for cut flowers.

I also sheet mulched I big circle around the birch and would like to plant some bulbs in that area. This gets a bit more sun than the area behind the tree but it is early morning or late afternoon sun. What would thrive there?

Are there any tulip, hyacinth, daffodil or narcissi that do well in shady areas?

I live in Portland, OR and the weather is rarely extremely cold in the winter. Should I dig up my cannas and replant next spring?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: New To Planting Bulbs - Many Questions for The Experts!

Remember that when the spring bulbs flower the tree will be leafless. So shade is not going to be a problem. Under a tree though dryness might be an issue.

RE: New To Planting Bulbs - Many Questions for The Experts!

If you want to plant spring flowering bulbs - tulips, narcissus, hyacinths, etc. - it is too late to consider ordering from a catalog. But most garden centers/nurseries have a full selection available right the PNW, even the grocery and box stores sell these bulbs (and Costco).

Tulips prefer a lot of sun but narcissus will take a fair amount of shade. And because most tulips bloom later than the daffs, often trees are more fully leafed out when they want to bloom. Crocus and snowdrops do fine in light shade as do muscari. I'd also site the hyacinths in a lot of sun for the best show.

As long as drainage is very good, cannas should overwinter fine. However, our soils warm up so slowly in spring, one often doesn't get sufficient growth to flower well if left in the ground. My suggestion would be to dig and store over winter indoors in a cool, dark location, then pot up quite early in spring. Placing the pots outdoors in early April in a full sun location will heat up that container soil sufficiently so that the tubers will be kick-started into growth. I follow the exact same program with dahlias :-))

RE: New To Planting Bulbs - Many Questions for The Experts!

  • Posted by socalgal USDA z10 Sunset z24, (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 8, 13 at 21:17 and are sold out of some varieties but still have bulbs.

RE: New To Planting Bulbs - Many Questions for The Experts!

Thanks for the great info! I have seen lots of bulbs while shopping but variety isn't great. It would still be good to have the info of the best online places to purchase bulbs so feel free to share.

I will go ahead and dig up the cannas. I just put them in this year, late, but 3 out of the 4 have bloomed. They are HUGE and I love the foliage!

RE: New To Planting Bulbs - Many Questions for The Experts!

Portland Nursery isn't the cheapest but they have a ton of variety and you can buy by the individual bulb which to me is worth it price wise for variety vs big box just has one type or random mix. Not sure what part of PDX you are in, but I'd drive in town to avoid shipping. most bulbs can be planted thru December 1st since our ground doesn't really freeze.

RE: New To Planting Bulbs - Many Questions for The Experts!

I checked online ads for Fred Meyer and found they were selling all spring flowering bulbs for buy one, get one 1/2 off. I ended up with a 12 pack each of Marit Tulips and Purple Prince and then a 24 pack of a daffodil Naturalizer Mix and a 24 pack of Purple Pink Tulip Mix. This should do me for the time being and I will be out as soon as it warms up a bit to plant these! I can't wait for the burst of color in the spring!

I planted fall blooming crocus earlier this year and they had all popped up but then the torrential rains we got a week ago crushed them all down.

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