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Step by step pictures for planting a Spring bulb planter

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Winter in Charlotte can be relatively short, but Spring bulbs are a welcome sight in February and March. The bright blue and purple of miniature iris, muscari and crocus are soon followed by bright yellow and white daffodils, colorful tulips and deeply fragrant hyacinth.

It's not necessary to plant hundreds of bulbs to enjoy beautiful color and fragrance next spring. Planting a medium or large planter with a variety of bulbs will allow you to enjoy a variety of bulbs without having to spend hundreds of dollars on bulbs or spend many hours on your knees planting bulbs. Some great examples of bulbs for your planters can be found at the following sites:

Follow the steps in the attached list to create a lovely planter for Spring. Select a planter that is at least 14" deep to allow plenty of space for roots to grow. Place the planter in a sunny location over the winter, water only as needed, and enjoy the show in the spring.

Choose a light weight mixture
Choose a light weight mixture Mary Moore

Choose a light weight mixture

Start with a lightweight potting soil or soil-less mixture.  Planting the bulbs and perennials in a light mixture will allow the young plants to grow roots easily and become established quickly.  Add a fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 mix or a bulb fertilizer into the mix to encourage root growth over the winter.

Add soil and tulips
Add soil and tulips Mary Moore

Add soil and tulips

Bulbs required different depths to grow well.  Read the directions to determine how deeply each bulb must be planted.  Add one inch so the top of the soil will be one inch below the rim of the planter.  For example, if the bulbs need to be planted 6" deep, fill the soil to 7" from the rim.  Place the bulbs pointed side up on the soil.

Add medium bulbs
Add medium bulbs Mary Moore

Add medium bulbs

Add additional soil to fill to prepare for the next set of bulbs.  (The hyacinths in the picture needed to be 5 inches deep, so I measure 6" fro the soil.)   Place the bulbs pointed side up and add more soil. 

Plant small bulbs
Plant small bulbs Mary Moore

Plant small bulbs

Fill the soil until it is is about 3.5 inches from the rim.  Firmly press the soil down to remove air pockets.  Add small bulbs such as crocus, miniature iris, muscari to the soil. 

Add first flower
Add first flower Mary Moore

Add first flower

Place a single pansy or viola plant on the soil and fill in the soil around the plant, leaving one inch of space below the edge of the planter.  Add three or four additional pansies or violas. 

Add remaining flowers
Add remaining flowers Mary Moore

Add remaining flowers

Fill in soil and pat down firmly, leaving one inch of space between the soil and the edge of the planter. This allows water to drain into the soil instead of running off the top and taking soil with it.

Water thoroughly and place the planter in full sun.  Water only as needed.

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