Design Your Spring Flower Bed

Fall is the time to think about and start planting next year’s flower garden. The bulbs you choose today can make all the difference in the spring.

Carly Gillespie with Cactus & Tropicals shares four tips for your flower bed.

Spring bulbs come in a wide variety of flower types, colors, blooming times, shapes and sizes. So, be sure to do some research before you jump into bulb gardening. Look for the height of the flowering plants, bloom time, color, etc. when you are picking your bulbs out at your local nursery. Below are a few tips for planning your bulb garden, so you can get the most bang for your buck.


Choosing what kinds of bulbs to plant can be a bit overwhelming, but you can rest easy knowing that most spring bulbs are very well suited for our climate. Daffodils come in a range of size and colors, they also ‘naturalize’ very well – meaning they will reproduce on their own and keep increasing in numbers. Tulips make a spectacular addition to your bulb gardens. There is a huge amount of diversity in the size, shape, color and texture of tulip flowers, as well as bloom times. Hyacinths have less variety, but come in many beautiful colors. Hyacinth flowers are very fragrant and make great cut flowers to bring indoors. Dwarf iris and crocus are both small very sweet flowers that come up in very early spring, and will even bloom when the snow is still on the ground.


Depending on the type of bulbs you are growing you can get a continuous bloom cycle from February through the end of May. Think crocus, dwarf iris and early daffodils for very early spring, then smaller early tulip varieties like Kaufmanniana and small daffodils for early spring; then hyacinths, larger daffodils, and mid-spring tulip varieties; and finally larger tulips, daffodils, and lily of the valley to finish off your bulb season.


When you plan your garden you can plant bulbs in groups or clumps to make more of a visual impact. This creates a more natural look for your garden, and is easier to maintain. You can also plant bulbs in layers, with larger bulbs like daffodils, larger tulips and hyacinths deeper in the soil; and your smaller bulbs like crocus, dwarf iris and small tulips closer to the surface. This allows you to plant your bulbs closer, and to have more variety in a smaller space.


Bulb planting is a very easy process that anyone can do, but timing is definitely important. You should plant your spring bulbs sometime between now (September) and before the ground freezes. Spring bulbs need the cold weather of winter to produce their blooms, so if you plant too late you might not get blooms for another year.

To plant your bulbs a general rule of thumb for depth is two to three times the diameter of the bulb. Make sure you plant your bulbs with the pointed side up. And, always wear gardening gloves or latex gloves when planting bulbs. Some bulbs can irritate your skin or eyes, and it is better to be safe than sorry.

Be sure to mark your planting or add it into your garden map. There is a good portion of the year that your bulbs have no foliage or flowers, and you want to avoid disturbing your planting when gardening the rest of the year.

No matter what bulbs you plant, or how you plant them you will be happy that you planted spring bulbs. Bulbs will be the first color in your garden next spring, and are a great reminder that the winter gloom is coming to an end and spring is around the corner.

Cactus & Tropicals has the best selection of fresh, healthy and unique house plants and flowers, elegant garden accessories and gifts. In spring and summer visit us for low maintenance and water wise xeric plants, beautiful native, trees, shrubs and perennials, steppable ground covers and spectacular container gardens, Veggies, herbs and flowers of all types and super cool, winter hardy cactus and succulents fill our exterior nursery with everything you need to create a beautiful space inside and out. Cactus & Tropicals also provides interior, guaranteed plant maintenance for over 800 locations in and around the Salt Lake Valley and is an exquisite location for your wedding reception or other special event. Open year round, 7 days a week in Salt Lake City and Draper Join our Gifts From the Garden Club and receive 20% off of an item of your choice and a variety of discounts and same as cash coupons throughout the year. Visit our website at:

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