Spring-flowering bulbs are still readily available in November, and this is a great time to plant them in our region. Daffodils, tulips, summer snowflakes, and Spanish bluebells all need as much chilling as they can get in this part of the country, so planting them early is essential for spring flowers. Plant bulbs with a nice scoop of compost to help them make roots while the ground is still warm. With new roots in place, they will be ready to collect chill hours when the temperatures drop into the 40s.
Early-blooming daffodils (Narcissus spp. and cvs., Zones 3–8) are a great choice for Southern gardens. The window between early-blooming daffodils and everything else blooming can be short, so late-season daffodil flowers are often lost in the spring rush of everything else flowering. Here are a few of our favorite early bloomers.
While typical tulips require some chilling and finagling to bloom in the South, many of the species tulips are reliable perennials here. These midspring bloomers may be smaller than traditional tulips, but they are charming and showy. Make sure they have plenty of sun and good drainage.
Time to get planting! Remember, it never hurts to try something out even if “it won’t grow here.” Microclimates are a thing, and most bulbs are a bargain. There are so many great spring-flowering bulbs, you might never run out of new varieties to try.
—Jason and Shelley Powell own and manage Petals from the Past, a garden center in Jemison, Alabama.
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