Best Spring Bulbs for the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Region
Spring Bulbs, Spring Flowers
In your area, you may be able to grow many of the tropical and other marginally hardy plants by planting in warmer 'micro-climates' protected from exposure to wind and extreme cold. If you're concerned about bulb foliage that emerges in the fall or winter, put a light pine needle or straw mulch around the leaves to protect them from frost burn (but don't worry, such leaf damage is only cosmetic and won't affect the flowers).
Optimum Planting Time: October 1st - November 30th
USDA Hardiness Zones: 6, 7, 8
- Plant bulbs in the fall starting when nighttime temperatures stay between 40-50°F. But, be sure to plant approximately six weeks before the ground freezes to allow sufficient time for rooting. Bulbs will root best in cool soil and once rooted undergo natural changes that keep them from freezing. Water your bulbs after planting to help them start the rooting process.
- After planting, apply slow release "bulb food" fertilizer on the top of the ground to supply nutrients for the second year's bloom. (Bulbs are already fully charged with energy for peak flowering performance in their first spring bloom season.) Do not put the fertilizer in the hole with the bulb as this may burn the bulb's tender roots.
- Please note: Modern bone meal generally has little value as a bulb fertilizer and often draws rodents and dogs that dig up the bulbs looking for bones!
- After the ground cools or freezes, cover your bulb beds with a lightweight mulch (pine needles, buckwheat hulls, straw or chopped up leaves) 2 — 4 inches thick to help keep down weeds and maintain a consistently cool soil temperature.
If voles or other animal pests are eating your tulips, crocuses or lilies, spraying the bulbs with a product such as Ropel may help protect them. To ward off subterranean "bulb rustlers," try placing Vole Block or sharp granules of a gravel-like substance around bulbs to help create a physical barrier. Regarding deer, trials of products such as Deer Off, which must be applied at emergence and until bloom, have had some success.
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.