Bulbs for the spring bloom

By Gregg Eyestone

The daffodil may be the easiest flower to grow. You get a dormant flower when you purchase it and bigger is better in this situation. Stick it in the ground or in a pot and that is about all there is to it.   

This is one reason it was selected by Riley County Extension Master Gardeners to encourage youth to plant some.

We selected the variety ‘Quail’ with its rich bronze-yellow with a darker, funnel-shaped cup.  When planted in the ground, it has a tendency to naturalize and be long lasting. It is in the Jonquil division of daffodil which is sweetly fragrant. They are good as cut flowers.

Area youth got the opportunity to plant a bulb in a pot, then placed in a cool, dark place, such as the refrigerator. Cold storage is a critical step in the forcing of the bulb to bloom. Ideally, temperatures should be 35 to 48 degrees. In about 12 weeks, the daffodils will be ready to bloom. It can be removed from the refrigerator and placed in a cool location for it to bloom.

Most of the 1000 bulbs that the youth got will be planted in their yard. The majority of bulbs like full sun and well drained soil. It is recommended that 2 inches of compost be spread over the planting site and mixed into the existing soil.

Success has been reported with planting right on top of the ground. The bulbs will need to be covered with 2 to 4 inches of mulch. You will also need to physically protect the bulbs from any wildlife that might want to disturb them.

Deer netting has worked for me when draped over the tulips as they start to bud. Some repellents such as Liquid Fence can be tried.

Now is the time to plant all types of spring bloomers. They can sure add a smile to a long winter. In case we have one.

You can find out more information on this and other horticulture topics by going to K-State’s Research and Extension website at www.ksre.ksu.edu. You can contact Gregg Eyestone at the Riley County office of K-State Research and Extension or by calling 785-537-6350, stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mail: geyeston@ksu.edu.

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