Spring flowering bulbs can add wonderful color to your landscape. Nothing signals the beginning of spring as vibrantly as the golden blooms of daffodils. In addition to daffodils, there are numerous other bulb species worthy of use. Variability among bulb species gives a grower many options in how and where the bulbs are used. At UNCW we have naturalized daffodils in lawn areas, planted hyacinths in flower urns, and inter-planted tulips in our annual beds.


1. Proper bulb selection will greatly influence your overall success. The following bulbs have shown great vigor on our campus. -Narcissus (Daffodil) -Hyacinths -Dutch Iris -Crocus -Scilla (Shade) *Tulips - Tulips can be grown in Wilmington, NC. However, due to our warm and wet weather they fail to thrive for more than a few years. We treat tulips like an annual and discard them after they complete their bloom cycle.

2. Your soil should be properly prepared before bulbs are planted. UNCW's Landscape Services department rototills a two to three inch layer of compost into planting areas to loosen and enrich the soil. We do not incorporate bonemeal in our soil, as a variety of four legged creatures are attracted to bonemeal and will attempt to dig it up.

3. Bulb spacing and planting depth varies by species. Follow the instructions for the species you choose. In the absence of instructions, a rule of thumb to follow is to plant bulbs at a depth 2 � times their height. When planting large masses, which we recommend over linear rows, it is helpful to set up all the bulbs in the planting area before "digging in." This insures consistent and proper bulb spacing.

Bulb Spacing

4. After the bulb's foliage has emerged 3-4" above the soil, we apply a "blossom booster" fertilizer. An example of such a fertilizer may have a nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium ratio of 10-30-20. Follow the label rates recommended on the fertilizer packaging.

Emerging Bulb Foliage

5. When possible, we "deadhead" our bulbs. Deadheading is the removal of the spent flower blossom. This task is most easily accomplished by pinching off the flower at its stem.

6. UNCW fertilizes the bulbs again immediately after they finish blooming.

7. Bulb foliage should not be cut back until it has turned a yellowish-brown color. It is after the bloom and before the foliage dies back that the bulb generates and stores energy for the following year. Prematurely cutting back the foliage will impact future bulb vigor.

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