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University of Illinois Extension

Plan For Spring Color Now

August 23, 2013

Tired of hearing about the bad economy or trying to figure our which candidate will really do what he says he is going to do? Perhaps you need to take a break and do a little Spring time planning and planting in your garden with bulbs.

To maintain 4 to 6 weeks of color from tulips in the landscape next spring select several cultivated varieties (cultivars) with various flowering times. According to Sandra Mason, U of I Extension Horticulture Educator, here are a few to consider for a spring full of color:

Very early types - late March to early April

Early tulips - mid April to early May

Mid season - late April to mid May

Late - mid to late May

With some tulips successive flower shows fail to rival the first season's bloom. Public gardens often treat tulips as annuals and replace them every year. Reportedly the longer lived types include single early, species types, Darwin, Lily flowered, Fosterana and Gregii cultivars. For long-lived tulips look for ones labeled "good for naturalizing".

Tulips and all the spring flowering bulbs such as crocus, daffodils and grape hyacinths should be planted in October. For best growth plant tulips 8 inches deep in masses in sunny areas with well-drained soil. Dry soil in summer will help tulip bulbs to live longer.

Tulips can be planted in ground covers such as English ivy or vinca. Plant tulips near perennials such as daylilies, hostas, asters, peonies, and fall anemones. To keep rabbits at bay, plant tulips surrounded by daffodils, grape hyacinths, or lily-of-the-valley. Since tulips rise and shine early in the season they can be planted in the back of a flower border.

For more information: http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/bulbs/

Source: Sandra Mason, State Master Gardener Coordinator, slmason@illinois.edu

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