Naturalizing Bulbs in the Lawn

A fun way to add color to your spring lawn


Naturalizing bulbs in the lawn is easy to do, although a little labor intensive at first. If you spread the work out over several years, you can really create something special. What a fun way to add color to your lawn in early spring before you begin mowing for the season!

How to Naturalize Bulbs in the Lawn

I prefer to plant bulbs in the lawn that bloom very early in the season, such as crocus, grape hyacinths, winter aconites or snow drops.

Choose an area in the lawn that can go unmowed for a few weeks in spring so that the foliage of the bulbs have a chance to die back naturally. The bulbs get their nutrients and energy to bloom from the sun. When the bulb blooms in spring, they must store up enough energy after blooming so that they can multiply and bloom again next year. If you must mow the lawn, wait until at least six weeks after they have finished blooming and make sure to fertilize the area with bulb food according to the package directions.

A few good places to plant your bulbs are under trees, on the edge of the garden, spilling out into the lawn and any area where grass might start growing a little later in the spring than the majority of the lawn. Well drained areas are a must. Avoid septic areas as the grass above a leach field tends to start growing much sooner than the remainder of the lawn. Southern exposures will bloom earlier than northern exposures, so if you have a fast growing lawn, you may want to start planting them here.

Grape Hyacinths

I prefer to mix varieties and colors all together, but mass plantings of one color and variety is stunning as well. I believe yellow and white show up in the lawn much better than purple.

Purchase the largest, firmest, healthiest looking bulbs you can find for the showiest display. Smaller than normal bulbs will most likely shoot up foliage in the spring and never bloom, so quality is key.

Plant the bulbs using the spacing requirements on the package. Generally, bulbs should be planted twice as deep as they are tall, with their tips pointing up. If you are not sure which way is up, plant them on their side.

Begin planting your bulbs when night time temperatures are consistently in the 50s or lower. In the northeast, October thru November are prime times for planting. Planting too soon could cause some bulbs to rot or sprout prematurely. Mix some bone meal or bulb fertilizer with the soil in each planting hole.

Now, you are ready for the fun part. You can plant your bulbs in a specific pattern, or do what I do and throw the bulbs on the ground and plant them where they land for a random look, like Mother Nature put them there herself.

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