Seasonal Tip: Fertilize Early, Before Foliage Emerges

Like all plants, your fall-planted bulbs will do better when their nutritional needs are met, and that usually means fertilizing them every now and then. Early spring is one good time to do it, before – or as soon as – the foliage emerges. Don’t wait too long, though, or you’ll find it’s hard to keep fertilizer granules from lodging among the emerging leaves where they can burn the tender foliage.

Although it’s always best to be guided by a soil test – and over-fertilizing can cause long-term problems – if you haven’t fertilized in a while, you’re probably safe doing it this spring. A relatively balanced (something like 8-8-8), slow-release fertilizer is best, but anything other than high-nitrogen (the first number) lawn fertilizers will work just fine. Fertilizing can be especially helpful in revitalizing crowded clumps of daffodils that no longer bloom well.

It’s also a good time to check your stored dahlias again; see our tips from our last newsletter here.


Our Top Bulbs to Plant This Spring for . . .

For those of you new to heirloom bulbs, or those just looking for new ideas, we thought we’d share some of our favorite varieties in different categories customers often ask about.

Hummingbirds – ‘Atom’ glad (runners-up: all of our other glads)

Bees – ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ dahlia (runner-up: ‘Mrs. H. Brown’ dahlia)

Fragrance – Tuberoses (runners-up: ‘Gold Band’ lily and ‘Caprice’ iris)

Cut Flowers – ‘Amber Queen’ dahlia (runner-up: ‘Requiem’ dahlia)

Wildflower Grace – ‘George Davison’ crocosmia (runners-up: ‘Abyssinian’ glad and ‘Kindly Light’ daylily)

Big Flowers – ‘Kelvin Floodlight’ dahlia (runner-up: ‘Trader Horn’ gladiolus)

Growing in Pots – Rain lilies (runner-up: tuberoses; and see our helpful Bulbs in Pots page)

Interesting Foliage – ‘Ehemanii’ canna (runner-up: ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ dahlia)

Early Bloom – ‘Gold Dust’ daylily (runner-up: ‘Eleanor Roosevelt’ iris)

Drought-Resistance – ‘Coronation’ iris (runner-up: our other iris)

Iconic Beauty – ‘Germanica’ iris (runners-up: Cafe au Lait’ and ‘Thomas Edison’ dahlia, ‘Peter Pears’ glad)


We’re Getting Ready to Start Shipping in April!

Despite snow this past weekend, we have snowdrops blooming, and we’re ramping up to start shipping spring-planted bulbs at the beginning of April. (While it may be warm where you live, our nighttime lows here in Michigan won’t stay safely above freezing until early APRIL – which is why we don’t start shipping until then.) We’ll keep taking new orders during that month, but if you want to add anything to an existing spring order, please let us know by March 20th, and as we are selling out of things, sooner is always better. You can either place a new order online, noting in the comment line that you’d like it added to your first order, drop us an email at listing the varieties and quantities you’d like to add, or give us a call. And as usual, we’ll be sending you an email when your bulbs leave here so that you’ll have tracking information and an idea of when to expect them.