Bulbous plants that are not hardy

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Before introducing new plant species into your garden, check their frost resistance. This information is just as important as knowing the soil, watering and site preferences of the species.

Unfortunately, some plants don’t like frost. Spring frosts can harm bulbs, which will not produce flowers in the season, or the flowers themselves, which, lured by the first rays of sun, started to pop up from the ground too early. And among bulbous plants, those sensitive to frost also happen. Find out which species they are and how to care for them!

Frost-sensitive plants

Plants that are sensitive to frost are species that need special care. Bulbous plants are planted into the ground from August to the end of October – as long as the ground has not frozen. They need to survive in the soil all winter and early spring, which is when frosts usually reach their peak. Among frost-sensitive bulbous plants you’ll find: hyacinths, lilies, narcissi, crocuses, and anemones.

Some people try to cheat nature and overwinter their bulbs in pots. However, if these are also exposed to the terrace or balcony, the bulbs will probably not survive until spring – the soil in the pot gives off heat faster and freezes more easily

How do I protect plants from frost?

Plants which are sensitive to frost should be planted in a place which is at least slightly protected from low temperatures – e.g. next to walls, fences or house walls. It is worth remembering that early spring bulbs will not be harmed by temperatures down to -5 degrees as there are always small frosts in March and April. However, when temperatures fall to -10 or even -20, it is worth protecting the bulbs additionally

Bulbous plants should be covered with mulch as early as the end of November – covering the beds earlier could lead to premature flowering. Use bark or peat as mulch, but not leaves – they may start to rot. You should also guard against voles and other garden rodents which will be happy to eat bulbs for snack.

How do I plant bulbs?

Initial selection of bulbs should start at the stage of buying them – it is better to reject all the specimens which are damaged, have growing leaves or good roots. As already mentioned, we plant them into the soil from the beginning of September until the end of October (tsarist crowns can be put into the ground already in the second half of August!). Bulb plants mostly require well-sunny positions – the more light, the warmer and easier to survive even huge winter frosts

Bulbs are planted in dug soil enriched with compost. It must be moist, but not waterlogged. If you want bulbous plants to bring life to existing beds, plant them next to species which do not yet have abundant foliage in early spring – so that they do not block the sun’s rays. The soil should be neutral.

Bulbs should be dug into holes three times as deep as the length of the bulb. It is a good idea to mark the spot with a plant name right away. By spring you will have forgotten where you planted what plants … and then in spring you will decide that they are unnecessary weeds

Main photo: cottonbro/pexels.com

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