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Planting and Care FAQs
Your top quality bulbs from Breck's will flourish in most types of soil, as long as it is well drained. If there is poor drainage due to high clay content, the addition of organic matter, leafmold and compost will help improve the drainage of soils. Locating a bulb bed on a slope will also help drainage.
For best growth, break up heavy soils by mixing one-third to one-half of the soil in the bed with organic material. Some coarse sand can also be added, but it won't hold nutrients or moisture as well. Beds should be at least 10-12" in depth to promote good root growth.
Remember, the better your soil and bed preparation, the better your bulbs will do, and you can enjoy their beauty for many years to come.
Each Dutch Bulb variety shipped by Breck's is carefully packaged in an individual bag labeled with complete information.
While every bulb will produce beautiful flowers, they don't all look the same.
Throughout the Handbook we refer to all of our products as "bulbs". Actually, this term covers a variety of different structures, including bulbs, rhizomes, corms, etc. But for simplicity and convenience, we've grouped all of them under the more popular term "bulb".
The bulb is one of the wonders of nature. It is a complete "package" which includes not only an embryonic plant, but also its own nourishment for the months it will spend in a dormant state underground. After planting, bulbs use some of their stored food supply to develop roots. Then, when warming weather signals the start of the new spring season, the flower stems and foliage will begin to push their way upward through the soil, again drawing on the bulbs built-in store of nourishment.
DORMANT AND BARE ROOT PLANTS: Keep Peony, Iris, Oriental Poppy, etc. roots in their original bags at about 40 degrees F (the vegetable drawer of a refrigerator is ideal) for no longer than three weeks. Quick planting, however will give the best results. Don't worry if the roots appear to be dry and dead when they arrive. They're just dormant and will sprout into life after planting.
Many items do best when shipped in a dormant or bare root condition. Dormant or bare root plants are living plant material even though they may be completely void of green buds or leaves. The plants are shipped to you without any soil around the roots. They've been conditioned for shipping and will be ready to start their growth after planting. It may take as long as six to eight weeks before they begin sprouting to the point where growth is obvious.
Please be patient. All plants Breck's selects for you are ready to begin root development as soon as they are planted. But they need time to develop their roots before they start their upward growth.
Most spring-planted perennials require from four to six weeks before sprouts begin to appear. Fall-planted items most likely will show no growth until spring.
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Spring Planting Guide
Fall Planting Guide
There are numerous places around most American homes where bulbs will add a delightful display in the springtime: by patios, in rock gardens and beds, along paths or driveways. They are also effective in front of evergreen hedges, along fences, and around mailboxes, birdbaths and sundials.
Consider plantings which can be enjoyed often, such as beside the entrances of your house, along your walkways and near the garage. And don’t overlook the opportunity to naturalize bulbs in any area where you’ll welcome their arrival each spring. They will add color and beauty to your groundcover plantings, and Crocus are a true delight when naturalized in the lawn.
For the look of Holland, it is best to plant bulbs en masse. Whether you’re planting six or six dozen, they make the best display when planted together in loose, informal clusters. Use them boldly. And remember, the smaller the blossoms, the more bulbs you should plant for a dramatic display. Don’t plant them in straight rows. They’ll look best in staggered free-form arrangements.
Spring bulbs like the sun. Don’t hesitate, however, to plant them among trees and shrubs, whose leaves will not be shading the ground until later in the season, after bulbs have done most of their growing and blooming. You can plant your bulbs near evergreens, too, if you plant them where the low-angled early spring sun will reach the plants most of the day.
Since you’ll probably be planting your Dutch Bulbs during some of fall’s nicest weather, don’t overlook the fact that you may not be spending as much time outside when your spring flowers are in bloom – particularly the early season varieties. So consider plantings which can easily be seen from the windows of your home.
One of the most delightful ways to use bulbs is to interplant them among other flowers, to bring color at a time when these flowers are not in bloom to bring interest before or after they bloom. This is an easy way to extend the colorful effect of your beds and borders. Bulbs also make excellent companions for many other plants. Exciting color combinations can be achieved by mixing bulbs with perennials and shrubs; even mixing them with other bulbs.
spring, Tulips and
make up the majority of the landscape and cut-flower arrangements.
Both are extremely easy to grow and come in a wide range of colour and
form variations. If you prefer not to take all of your bouquets from
your display beds, where the blooms complement other flowers and
foliage plants, you can create a separate garden strictly for cutting.
For the most interesting bouquets, also include other flowers that are
good for cutting (such as Irises,
as well as interesting foliage plants. Tuck your cutting garden
behind the house or along the back of a border.
If space does not allow a separate cutting garden, group similar plants together into larger clusters. For instance, plant two dozen or more bulbs of one variety together in a mass. That way, cutting a few stems here and there for bouquets will be a treat and not a distress.
Here are just a few of the many outstanding possibilities of bulbs to grow for cutting flowers.
Perennial Tulip Mixture Super Sak® Specially selected for long-lasting blooms by our garden experts in Holland. Large flowers and long stems add to their enchanting beauty. Excellent for beds, borders, bouquets and naturalizing. Red Dynasty
is a must. It is one of the largest, strongest red Tulips ever
Tulips add romance with their striking, long-lasting double
As for Daffodils,the unique green eye and sweet scent of
Green Eyes Daffodil are best appreciated when up-close-and-personal in a table-top setting. Long-lasting
Decoy, has white petals that encircle an almost red trumpet. Try combining it with Breck's Colossal for a stunning bicolour show. A daintily crimped cup of apricot-pink frothed with white makes Apricot Whirl perfect for displaying singly or en masse. Create enduring, exotic arrangements with any of the pink Daffodils.
can fill an entire room with its heady perfume with just the
addition of a single stem in a fresh bouquet. Dutch Irises
make intriguing vertical accents in arrangements, while Grape
Hyacinths are perfect for small-scale displays. Ring a vase of red Tulips
with their dainty purple-blue spikes for instant wow-power.
The queen of the
summer cutting garden is the Lily.
All types have big, impressive blooms, and some have spicy or sweet
scents. They come in a wide variety of designer colours arrayed in
solid, speckled and bicolour patterns. And with proper care, cut lilies can
last up to two weeks or even more in the vase. Another favourite is the Stargazer Oriental
Lily, it produces abundant, scented, upward-facing flowers in an
exotic pink, that looks great with anything. If you would like to add
white to your designs, the trumpets of Madonna Lilies
are pristine and intoxicatingly fragrant.
deciding where to plant bulbs that naturalize, consider where your
landscape needs more colour at various times in spring and early
summer. By planting a combination of different species and cultivars,
you’ll enjoy a succession of bloom that lasts several months or more.
Also consider the garden setting and the effect you’d like to achieve.
For a carefree, colourful display year after year, let your bulbs go wild! Flowering bulbs will keep your garden ablaze with colour when other plants are just emerging or have faded. Naturalizing is the process of imitating nature with bulb plantings. In nature, bulbs do not grow in rows. The flowers appear in irregular clumps scattered over the landscape. There are several early spring bulbs that naturalize easily in grassy areas. Some of these include: snowdrops, winter aconites, crocus, and daffodils.
In a woodland garden, incorporate bold, sweeping drifts of early spring colour. The moist soils and shaded conditions are ideal for naturalizing Snowdrops, Crocuses, early Daffodils, Grecian Windflowers, Glory of the Snow and Winter Aconite. These plants colonize vigorously and thrive under deciduous trees.
deciding where to plant bulbs that naturalize, consider where your
landscape needs more colour at various times in spring and early
summer. By planting a combination of different species and cultivars,
you’ll enjoy a succession of bloom that lasts several months or more.
Also consider the garden setting and the effect you’d like to achieve.
In lawns and the front of mixed borders, plant
Hyacinths, and low-growing Alliums.
You also can tuck these bulbs into ground cover beds, such as ivy and
pachysandra, for colour and contrast.
Daffodils are a good naturalizer. However, since the foliage does not mature until the end of June, many gardeners have a tendency to mow off the foliage before its time. Therefore, it is wise to naturalize daffodils in an out of the way location where lack of mowing can be tolerated.
For rock gardens, entryway locations and other areas where close-up detail is desired, choose small Crocuses, Snow Glories, Winter Aconite, Groundcover Tulips, and other bulbs with diminutive blooms. Plant them in small clusters at the corners of beds, in crevices between rocks, or between later blooming garden plants.
Caring for Naturalized Bulbs|| Naturalized bulbs require very little care.
Simply let the foliage die back naturally to ensure that the plants
have had ample time to recharge their bulbs so they can produce flowers for the
following year. The foliage can either be removed by hand or left alone
to fade on its own. If you’ve naturalized bulbs in your lawn, keep in
mind that the foliage cannot be mowed off until it dies down naturally
or the bulbs will eventually die out. An exception to this is the
foliage of crocus and
can be mowed in midspring. |
In early spring, top-dress any bulb area with a balanced fertilizer, such as Breck¹s Food for Bulbs and Perennials, to ensure vigorous flowering.
Before your bulbs arrive, you can improve poor soil with the addition of some organic matter in the form of compost or aged manure that is worked thoroughly into the existing soil. Once this has been done and a few days have passed to allow the soil to settle, you can plant your bulbs.
One of the most frequently asked questions about planting bulbs is, “Which end goes up?” Most true bulbs, such as Tulips and Daffodils, have pointed tips which should point upward. Corms, tubers, and rhizomes usually show sprouts on their upper sides, and these should be on top when planted. Some of the smaller bulbs, such as Poppy Anemones, look like small dried peas or small stones and can be planted in any direction – their shoots will find their way toward the sun.
If you are planting a bed, you can spade the entire bed area and then dig out the top 6-8” of soil. Place your bulbs atop the remaining loosened soil. After you have set them in place, cover them with the removed soil and water thoroughly.
For planting smaller groups or individual bulbs, you can use a simple garden trowel. Dig a hole a bit larger then the bulb, and be sure to loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole and treat it like a miniature bed (as described above).
You may prefer to use a bulb planter which digs uniform holes. Treat each hole as described above for planting with a trowel.
For best planting depths and spacing, see the planting charts or the directions printed on the bags. However, if your soil is particularly light, or if you plan to plant later-blooming flowers amongst your bulbs, you may want to set your bulbs, you may want to set your bulbs a bit deeper than suggested.
Food for Bulbs...Since each bulb is a complete “plant factory” in itself, it has its own built-in food supply. It comes from Holland ready to be planted as it is.
However, we do recommend giving your bulbs supplemental feeding with a commercial bulb fertilizer to stimulate root development, promote stronger growth, and produce bigger, longer-lasting flowers. Mix with soil when planting, and in spring as new growth appears.
Watering...After planting, give your bulbs a deep watering, and then let Mother Nature do her job. Average spring weather conditions should provide enough moisture for your bulbs. However, if the weather is unusually hot and dry, a weekly deep soaking will produce larger, longer-lasting blooms. (A general rule of thumb is that all plants need an inch of water each week.)
Fibrous Roots (example: Tall Hybrid Phlox)...Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the bare roots. Carefully spread the roots out in the hole. Holding the roots with one hand, suspend them in the planting hole at the proper depth. Fill in and around the roots with soil until the hole is completely filled. Tamp the soil with your hand to remove air pockets. Create a "saucer" around the planting hole with soil, mark the planting, and fill the sauce with water. Let is soak in and fill the saucer again until the roots are completely watered.
Long Tap Root (examples: Hollyhocks, Hardy Hibiscus). Folow the procedure outlined above for Fibrous Roots.
Rhizomes (example: Bearded Iris)...Dig a shallow hole 2-4" deep and twice as wide as the rhizome. Create a small mound in the middle of this shallow planting hole. Place the rhizome on top of this mound and spread the roots on both sides of the mound. Fill the hole with soil, but only partially cover the rhizome. Water thoroughly.
Roots with "Eyes" (example: Peonies) ...Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the root. Holding the root, with "eyes" pointing up, at the proper planting depth, fill in and around the root with soil until the planting hole is filled. Firm the soil with both hands and water thoroughly. (Note: It's important not to plant Peonies over 2" below the soil surface for proper blooming.)
Fleshy Roots (examples: Daylilies, Hosta) ...Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the bare roots. Create a mound in the planting hole to hold the roots and the crown (where roots meet the stem) at ground level. Spread the roots over the mound. Fill the planting hole with soil and firm with both hands. Water thoroughly.
Tips & Growing Instructions: Tulips
Tulips and other Dutch bulbs grow well in any average garden soil with good drainage. It is desirable, however, to break up heavy soils before planting and work in some compost or peat to a depth of 10–12" to keep the soil loose. Before your bulbs arrive, you can improve poor soil by adding some organic matter in the form of compost or aged manure and working it thoroughly into the existing soil. After this has been done and a few days have passed to allow the soil to settle, you can plant your bulbs. How deep should they be planted? For recommended planting depths and spacing, see the Breck’s® Planting Guide for Fall.
When growing your tulips in containers, avoid placing the container in direct sunshine. The soil needs to remain cool so the bulb doesn¹t prematurely receive signals that spring has arrived. If the sun warms the soil in the container too early, the bulb will send up shoot and flower before an adequate root system has developed. Keeping the soil cool for as long as possible will encourage the strongest and most expansive root system possible.
Perennial tulips are special because, unlike many hybrids, they come back reliably year after year. Besides choosing a truly perennial variety, there are a few steps you can take to ensure perennial performance… Plant bulbs in well-drained soil. This will help naturalizing or perennializing and cut down on the risk of disease and fungus. Plant bulbs deep. Measuring from the base of the bulb, place the tulip about 6” inches deep. Water after planting. This will ensure that your tulips develop a strong root system before going into winter dormancy. After the blossoms have peaked, remove the flower heads and allow the green foliage to die back. Fertilize in fall and spring.
Tulips are very easy to grow. Most gardeners plant their bulbs in November in full sun. Place your tulips about 6” deep in moderately loamy soil with some humus and sand added. After flowering, allow bulb foliage to wither before cutting – that way, sap in the foliage returns to the bulb where it provides added strength for next year.
Darwinhybrids are tulips beloved for their large, egg-shaped blooms and tall, strong stems that can withstand the wind and the rain. They are cultivated extensively as cut flowers due to their size, sturdiness and wide range of bright colours. Darwinhybrids are among the best tulips blooming for up to five years each spring when care is taken to remove their faded blooms. For best results, plant them in fertile, well-drained soil where they will receive a good amount of morning sunshine but will not be subjected to too much direct afternoon sunlight during hot weather. Some of our favorites are Sun Gold Jumbo, Halley’s Comet and Guinevere Jumbo Perennial Tulips.
Care in Lifting - You may choose to lift your tulips after the foliage has ripened. This is not necessary with hardy perennial varieties. If you lift, store the bulbs in a dry place during the summer and replant them next fall in fresh soil – this will reduce the risk of disease. Each year before replanting, inspect your bulbs for bruises or cuts that may allow diseases to enter and then spread to other bulbs. This is essential since an infection of the incurable disease ‘Fire’ (Boyrytis) will require you to burn all your tulips!
Tips & Growing Instructions: Daffodils
How to plant daffodil bulbs
Daffodils are among the first signs of spring in many American gardens - so it's no wonder that so many gardeners take time in the fall to plant them. Daffodils come in so many shapes and colors - from ruffled pink daffodils to giant yellow jonquils to low-growing naturalizing species - that it seems impossible that most daffodils require the same low level of maintenance. But it's true!
Growing daffodils is surprisingly easy when you keep a few simple tips in mind:
When to plant
Daffodil bulbs should be planted in fall, two to six weeks before the first hard frost of the season. For zones with all four seasons - most of the midwest and east - this planting date will fall in October. Since daffodils are among the hardiest bulbs that bloom in spring, they can be planted a bit later than soft bulbs, like tulips. However, they still need a little time to settle in the ground before the winter freeze hits. The cool period is vital to the bulbs' development - when the weather warms, the change in temperature sparks a metabolic change that allows the plants to expend the energy necessary to sprout.
Where to plant
Drainage is the key to keeping your bulbs healthy! Raised beds and hillsides are ideal for daffodils. If you want to plant without raising the soil level, be sure to amend your soil with compost or planting mix. Most daffodils can grow anywhere, as long as the soil is well-drained and the plants receive plenty of sun. Be sure to choose a location where your daffs will see direct sunlight for most of the day!
How to plant
The spacing of your daffodil bulbs will depend on variety - larger bulbs need wider spaces - so check your packaging to determine how wide a berth to give each bulb. You'll want to dig holes about three times the depth of the height of the bulb itself. For example, our Colossal Daffodil has a pretty big bulb - about two inches high - so it needs to be planted so that the base is 6 inches below ground.
Another, even easier planting option is naturalizing – planting groups of bulbs together, instead of digging individual holes for bulbs. Tete-a-tete daffodils, Carlton, Salome, Juanita, and Ice Follies work particularly well for naturalizing. To naturalize your daffodils, you’ll need to dig up a deeper, larger area: about 8 inches deep and large enough to fill with your desired number of bulbs. Simply place the bulbs, along with some of Breck’s Bulb Food or a similar fertilizer, and replace the soil.
Daffodils don’t require a huge amount of follow-up care. Just wait for spring! After your plants sprout, but before they bloom, you can add a bit of bulb fertilizer to the soil. After they bloom, daffodils make great cut flowers. When the blooming season is over, be sure to leave the leaves – don’t cut them back until they begin to die back on their own.
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Tips & Growing Instructions: Hyacinths
The Hyacinth is a member of the large and lovely Lily Family. (Consider its tubular florets and intense fragrance and you’ll understand the connection.) Hyacinths thrive in well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Throughout most of the U.S., they will return year after year, adding beauty and fragrance to garden beds and indoor bouquets. Dutch bulb growers have cultivated Hyacinths since the 17th century. By 1838, these brilliantly coloured spring gems had become so popular that more than 2,000 varieties were available! The uniform, upright shape of the flower spikes and jewel-tone colours made Hyacinths a favourite for formal Victorian gardens. Now 21st century gardeners are rediscovering this classic flowering bulb, which complements gardens of all sizes and styles. For a bold, dramatic effect in your spring landscape, fill an entire bed with a single Hyacinth variety, or plant masses of Hyacinths to form a large, gently curving swath of colour. For even more visual excitement, plant a single variety of tulip of a contrasting colour along both sides of the Hyacinths -- choose a tulip that will bloom simultaneously with your hyacinths.
For a more informal look, mix hyacinths of various colours with tulips, daffodils, pansies, primroses and other spring-blooming flowers. Be sure to plant a few groups along a walkway, where you can enjoy their fragrance each time you pass. Hyacinths are also one of the easiest bulbs to grow in pots.
You can easily force your hyacinths indoors. You will need a hyacinth bulb vase – a special glass vase with a pinched neck and bulb-sized “cup” at the top. Most garden centers carry several shapes and colors. 1. Place the bulb in the top of the vase. Fill the vase with water to just below the bulb (add a piece of charcoal to help prevent algae growth). Place the vase in a cool, dark place for two months. Check the water level weekly to make sure it is just under the base of the bulb. 2. After eight to ten weeks, place the vase in a dimly lit place. By now you should see roots extending into the water and a shoot growing upwards. If the roots have not developed well enough, put the bulb back in the dark for a few weeks more. 3. Over the next three weeks, slowly bring the vase into a warmer, brighter position, but no more than 65 degrees. Too much heat at this stage can result in a rush into flowering before the stem has developed enough height. 4. Four to six weeks after bringing the vase out of the dark, your hyacinth will be in full bloom! Keep it in a bright spot with diffused light. Full sun will cause it to age quickly. After flowering, transplant into your garden.
Lilies... Their colorful flowers are prized for their elegant displays in early to midsummer, when there is a lull in the garden. Easy to grow in full sun or light shade, and they are perfect for naturalizing. Good drainage is important for Lilies, so plant them in a well-drained soil, 6-9" deep and 6-9" apart. Asiatic Lilies bloom several weeks before the highly fragrant Oriental varieties.
Poppy Anemones... Because Poppy Anemones are not winter-hardy below 0 degrees F (-18 degrees C), they should be stored in their bags in an area where the temperature will be about 40-50 degrees F (5-10 degrees C), and then planted in the spring after the last frost. In subsequent years, dig them up in late fall to early winter after several hard frosts and store again during the winter. Soaking the tubers for several hours prior to planting often helps them break into growth more rapidly.
Mountain Bells... Mountain Bells (Allium moly, A. neapolitanum, A. ostrowskianum) are ideal to bridge the season between spring and summer flowers. They bloom in late spring and early summer and have multi-flowered clusters on 10-14" stems. Leave undisturbed for best results. Because of their scent, rodents and deer won't touch them.
Giant Alliums... Giant Alliums such as Persian Blue (Allium aflatunense) and Drumsticks (Allium sphaerocephalum) thrive anywhere and multiply without any special attention. Leave undisturbed and lift them only when they become too crowded to bloom freely. Pleasing fragrance and striking in the landscape. Not eaten by rodents or deer.
Pink Buttercups... Pink Buttercups (Oxalis adenophylla), which are sometimes called Wood Sorrel, are hardy and beautiful. These low-growing bulbs have an extended blooming season lasting from May through July. The gray-green foliage makes a wonderful ground cover and foil for other flowers. They make excellent complements to the lavender and purple-flowered Alliums and early summer perennials.
Tall Dutch Iris... Tall Dutch Iris (Iris hollandica) bloom in late spring, but the foliage usually appears several weeks earlier. They are best planted in groups. The bulbs can be left undisturbed until they become overcrowded, at which time they should be lifted after foliage has died down. Clean and store bulbs in a dry, cool, dark place and replant in the fall.
Crown Imperials... Breck's Giant Crown Imperial bulbs (Fritillaria imperialis) should be treated with special care. Soil should be loosened to a depth of at least 12" and sand, small pebbles or other drainage material worked into the bottom 2-3" of your bed or planting hole. Cover this with another 2-3" of loose soil and then set the bulb on top of this. Crown Imperials grow best in family groups and should be left undisturbed from year to year. Their scent will help to keep moles and rodents out of the soil around them.
Grecian Windflowers... Grecian Windflowers (Anemone blanda) have daisy-shaped early spring blooms and vivid green fernlike foliage. For best results, plant them in naturalized areas, rock gardens, mixed borders or in clusters, preferable in sunny spots. Leave them undisturbed for perennial blooming. It is also a good idea to plant Grecian Windflowers amongst low ground covers which will protect them when they go dormant.
Fertilizing... Each year when flower stems and foliage begin to emerge from the ground in the spring, apply a treatment of a commercial fertilizer.
Watering...Like all flowers, bulbs appreciate regular watering. As a general rule, they should be deeply watered anytime natural rainfall is less than one inch per week during their growing and blooming season.
Mulching...A year-round mulch of compost, leafmold, leaves or commercial types of mulch has a positive effect on your bulbs and other flowers by keeping the soil from drying out, maintaining a more even soil temperature and reducing week growth. It also prevents soil from splashing onto the flowers and foliage.
After Blooming...Flowers should be removed when petals begin to fade, so they will not go to seed. If seed pods are allowed to remain, they will draw off the food needed to nourish your bulbs for next year’s growth. All petals should be removed from the blooming area after they have fallen. Even where bulbs have been naturalized in a lawn, leaves should not be cut until they turn yellow and wither naturally. While they are still green, the leaves serve as a source of nourishment to the bulbs.
Natural Storage...Most bulbs prefer not to be disturbed and can be left in the ground for many years. But beware of overcrowding. When too many bulbs try to occupy the same space, they will be less vigorous and flowers will be fewer and smaller, an indication that it’s time to transplant them.
You can dig up your bulbs as they are going dormant (which is when foliage is brown and papery and can easily be pulled free), divide and move them to a new location. Some varieties, of course, are more prone to multiply than others, and from time to time will need to be dug up and divided before being replanted at better spacing.
If you lift your spring-flowering bulbs after the foliage had died back, store them in a cool, dry place during the summer for replanting in the early fall.
Daffodils and the smaller bulbs – Crocus, Scillas, Grape Hyacinths, etc. – are better if left where they are so they can grow and multiply for many years. If they are planted at the proper depth, annuals may be planted right atop and amongst them.
Winter Protection for Hardy Bulbs and Perennials...It’s a good idea to give your hardy bulbs and perennials some winter protection. You may want to mulch them lightly, especially the fist winter planting. Evergreen boughs, pine needles or leaves are ideal to use as mulch. This provides good protection in areas where there is alternate freezing and thawing, which may have a tendency to displace bulbs form their planted positions. Winter mulch should not be put down until the ground has frozen hard. Snow is a natural, and ideal final covering. Be sure to remove a winter mulch early in the spring, before your bulbs begin growing.
Lifting Tender Bulbs...Less hardy bulbs should be lifted each fall. As soon as frost has blackened foliage, gently spade up the bulbs, being careful not to cut into the bulbs and damage them.
If you prefer to lift the bulbs before frost had hit, you can dig your bulbs early and store them in a well-ventilated, frost-free area until they are dry. Just let the leaves remain on the bulbs until they become dry.
Most bulbs should be dried for about a week before you prepare them for storage. Then pull loose any remaining foliage, shake the bulbs gently to remove any clinging soil, dust them with fungicide powder to prevent rot and place them in unsealed paper bags or old nylon stockings with some dry peat moss to keep the bulbs from touching one another.
Dahlias should be dried for only a couple of hours before storing in plastic-lined shallow boxes with a blanket of vermiculite or peat moss.
Begonias should be given a bath just as soon as they are lifted and then stored in shallow, open trays. If there may be mice or other rodents, place a wire covering over the open trays.
Summer-blooming bulbs require a relatively low temperature for winter storage, 45-60˚ F (7-16˚ C). (Dahlias require an even lower temperature. If it gets above 45˚ F (7˚ C), they may sprout prematurely.) If you have space in the vegetable compartment of a refrigerator, it is ideal for bulb storage. Most modern basements aren’t cool enough for winter bulb storage. Often an unheated garage is a good alternative. Make sure, however, that your bulbs will not freeze.
Bulbs, Corms, Tubes, Roots and Rhizomes... While we have referred to every summer-blooming flower from Holland as originating from a “bulb” many of the varieties described actually grow from corms, tubers, roots or rhizomes. While each is technically different, the instructions for care and planting apply uniformly.
Dutch Bulbs are Perennials require only a minimum of care during the summer blooming periods. Like all garden plants, they appreciate a weed-free growing area and watering when nature doesn’t supply enough rain to keep the soil moist. Do not, however, let water stand around your bulbs – moist soil doesn’t mean wet soil.
It generally isn’t necessary to apply fertilizer while your summer bulbs and perennials are growing and blooming. Sometimes, however, you can increase blooming by adding dehydrated manure or another plant fertilizer. Be careful not to let any fertilizer touch the foliage.
In milder climate areas of America, where little or no frost can be expected, later planting is recommended. After receiving your bulbs from Holland, they should be given a “substitute winter” by pre-cooling them before planting. You can store them in opened packages in the bottom of your refrigerator. (Fruit should not be stored in the refrigerator while bulbs are cooling, since it produces gases which could damage the bulbs.) A six-to eight-week cooling period is recommended.
Cut the stems diagonally. Create a paper cone around the flower heads and place the stems in water for about 1-2 hours. Remove the paper and recut the stems. Transfer the flowers to a vase with fresh water and plant food. Add water as needed and keep out of direct sun and drafts. Enjoy blooms for 7-10 days.
|Flowering Time||Planting Depth||Spacing||Flowering Height||Suitable for naturalizing||Comments||VERY EARLY SPRING|
|Miniature Iris||3-4"||3-4"||5"||Y||Good for borders|
|Snow Crocus||3"||2-3"||3-5"||Y||Multiplies annually|
|Star of Nature||3-4"||4-6"||12-16"||Y||Multiplies annually|
|Snow Glories||3"||in groups"||4-7"||Y||Long-lasting|
|Winter Aconite||3"||2-3"||3-4"||Y||Ground Cover|
|Miniture Daffodil||3"||3-6"||6-8"||Y||Ground Cover||EARLY SPRING|
|Emperor Tulips||6"||3-6"||14-16"||N||Cut flowers|
|Peacock Tulip Mix||6"||3-6"||8"||N||Rock gardens|
|Star of Holland||3"||2-3"||6"||Y||Long-lasting|
|Trumpet Daffodils||6"||4-6"||16-20"||Y||Cut flowers|
|Grecian Windflowers||3"||in groups||3-4"||Y||Ground cover||MID-SPRING|
|Crown Imperials||8"||8-12"||34-36"||N||Prevents rodents|
|Double Early Tulips||6"||3-6"||8"||N||Borders|
|Dwarf Fritillaria||3"||2-3"||12-14"||Y||Multiplies annually|
|Grape Hyacinths||3"||2-3"||6-8"||Y||Ground Cover|
|Single Early Tulips||6"||3-6"||16-18"||N||Cut flowers|
|Spring Star Flower||3"||2-3"||4-5"||Y||Multiplies annually|
|Darwin Hybrid Tulips||6"||3-6"||22-26"||N||Cut flowers|
|Triumph Tulips||6"||3-6"||14-22"||N||Cut flowers|
|Daffodils||6"||4-6"||6-18"||Y||Cut flowers||LATE SPRING|
|English Bluebells||4"||3-4"||10-14"||Y||Ground cover|
|Double Late Tulips||6"||3-6"||16-22"||N||Cut flowers|
|Lily-Flowering Tulips||6"||3-6"||20-26"||N||Cut flowers|
|Wood Hyacinths||4"||3-4"||8"||Y||Ground cover|
|Viridiflora Tulips||6"||3-6"||12-26"||N||Cut flowers|
|Tassel Hyacinths||4"||2-3"||8-10"||Y||Long-lasting||LATE SPRING - EARLY SUMMER|
|Giant Allium||6"||4-12"||24-60"||Y||Dried arrangements|
|Camassia||3-4"||6"||15-36"||Y||Ground cover in shade|
|Hardy Glads||6"||3-4"||20-24"||N||Blooms in early summer|
|Bearded Iris||2-4"||12-18"||28-40"||N||Blooms late spring early summer|
|Dwarf Iris||2-4"||6-12"||10-15"||N||Blooms in spring|
|Reblooming Iris||2-4"||12-24"||28-40"||N||Blooms mid-spring/early summer and again in midsummer/early fall|
|Arum Italicum||5-6"||4-6"||10-50"||Y||Good in shade|
|Mountain Lilies||3"||2-3"||12-15"||Y||Cut flowers|
|Pink Buttercups||2"||3-4"||3"||Y||Long blooming season|
|Poppy Anemones||2-3"||2-4"||10-14"||N||Not winter hardy; plant in spring|
|Tall Dutch Iris||4"||3-4"||20-24"||Y||Cut flowers|
|Cyclamen||2"||6"||4-6"||Y||Good in shade|
|Asiatic Lilies||5-6"||9-12"||36"||Y||Fragrant; cut flowers|
|Tiger Lilies||6"||9-12"||30-48"||Y||Cut flowers|
|Madonna Lily||5-6"||9-12"||36-48"||Y||Fragrant; cut flowers|
|Species Lilies||6"||4-9"||24-48"||N||Fragrant; cut flowers||EARLY SUMMER|
|Astilbe||1-2"||2"||24"||N||Cut flowers and everlasting arrangements|
|Peony||1-2"||3'||27-48"||N||Planting depth refers to maximum distance eyes on tubers should be placed below the surface|
|Oriental Lilies||5-6"||6-9"||24-36"||N||Fragrant; cut flowers||MID - LATE SUMMER|
|Begonias||1-2"||*||6-14"||N||10-12" apart in garden; 4-6" in containers|
|Calla||3"||12-15"||18-24"||N||Keep moist in summer. Good for pots too. Lift before frost.|
|Crocosmia||5"||4-6"||2-3'||N||Fall-lifting is only necessary in northern climates.||DAHLIAS|
|Dinnerplate||2"||2-3"||3-4"||M||Provide moisture and lots of sun. Your dahlias will reward you with lots of blooms. Lift before frost.|
|Dwarf||2"||12-18"||12"||"||same as above|
|Mixed||2"||24-36"||3-5'||N||same as above|
|Pompon||2"||12-18"||3-4'||N||same as above|
|Windowbox||2"||12-18"||12"||same as above|
|Daylilies||2-3"||15-24"||18-36"||Y||Enjoy a steady succession of bell-shaped blooms all summer.||GLADIOLUS|
|Hardy (Nanus)||6"||4-6"||3-5'||N||Plant at one-to-two wk intervals. Begin after last frost and continue until about two mos. before first fall frost.|
|Orchidola||6"||4-6"||20-24"||N||same as above|
|Dwarf||6"||4-6"||18-24"||N||same as above|
|Hardy Cyclamen||4"||12"||4-6"||Y||Bloom in late summer|
|Lilies||6-9"||6-9"||1 1/2 - 4'||Y||Fragrant, cut flower||PHLOX|
|Tall Hybrid||1"||18-24"||2-3"||N||Great as a backdrop to lower growing plants.|
|Creeping||1"||8-12"||3-6"||N||Hardy ground cover. Mass of blooms in late spring.|
Our imported Dutch bulbs are rigorously inspected - only 1 in 20 meets Breck's strict quality standards. You can capture the beauty of Holland for your garden. We have a wider selection of rare bulbs than retail outlets and other mail order companies. Our staff of Dutch bulb experts is like having your own personal buyer in Holland.