Tips for Growing Bulbs

Avoiding Disease and Rodents

Plant bulbs in well-drained soil.

Rodents and disease can pose challenges to the home gardener. The following tips will help you prevent disease and rodents from harming the bulbs in your garden.

  • Make intensive bulb plantings work smoothly by discouraging competition or disease spread. Use only well-drained soil for bulbs. In wet soils, bulbs will rot. Plan to fertilize in the fall with a product formulated for bulbs so they won't have to compete for nutrients. Water during spring while bulbs are actively growing, but allow the soil to dry out in summer, when they are dormant.
  • Plant tulips 8 to 10 inches deep to prolong their life and protect them from rodents. When set deep, tulip bulbs are slower to split and stop flowering. They also take some serious digging to be reached by rodents. It's a win-win situation.
  • Discourage rodents from eating crocuses and other bulbs by planting them in fine-mesh wire baskets. If animals can't dig the bulbs out, they can't eat them. Wire cages also help prevent accidental human damage with shovels and hoes.
  • Add liquid rodent repellent to bulb-soaking water (at the lowest recommended concentration) to make the treated bulbs unappetizing to rodents. Bitter-tasting rodent repellent is absorbed by the bulbs, which then become unattractive to mice, chipmunks, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, and most other animals. It's particularly helpful for crocuses and other edible, shallowly planted bulbs that are easily unearthed and eaten by passing critters.

Want more gardening tips? Try:

  • Gardening Tips: Learn great helpful hints for all of your gardening needs.
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  • Perennials: Choose great plants that will return year after year.
  • Gardening: Discover how to garden.