A GUIDE TO BULB PLANTING IN ALASKA
Optimum Planting Time: September 15th - October 15th
The area is large and variable. Most common are very long, dark, cold winters, short days and a short growing season. However, a little creativity can go a long way!
Plant bulbs in the fall starting when nighttime temperatures stay between 40-50°F. But, be sure to plant approximately six weeks before the ground freezes to allow sufficient time for rooting. Bulbs will root best in cool soil and once rooted undergo natural changes that keep them from freezing. Water your bulbs after planting to help them start the rooting process.
After planting, apply slow release "bulb food" fertilizer on the top of the ground to supply nutrients for the second year's bloom. (Bulbs are already fully charged with energy for peak flowering performance in their first spring bloom season.) Do not put the fertilizer in the hole with the bulb as this may burn the bulb's tender roots. PLEASE NOTE: Modern bone meal generally has little value as a bulb fertilizer and often draws rodents and dogs that dig up the bulbs looking for bones!
After the ground cools or freezes, cover your bulb beds with a lightweight mulch (pine needles, buckwheat hulls, straw or chopped up leaves) 2 - 4 inches thick to help keep down weeds and maintain a consistently cool soil temperature.
Special Note: Plant your spring-flowering bulbs in warmer protected areas with less exposure to wind and extreme cold to extend blooming season and protect early or late bloomers from extremes in temperature variation. If the spring is dry, water weekly while the foliage is green.
A Sampling of Bulbs for Perennializing: (return for several years)
- Allium christophii
- Allium 'Mount Everest'
- Trumpet Narcissus
- Small Cupped Narcissus
- N. 'Actaea'
- Greigii Hybrid Tulips
- Darwin Hybrid Tulips