Garden in winter by planting bulbs in November and December for cut flower bouquets in February.
Timing bulbs for blooms in spring before other gardeners have any can be a bit tricky. Local growers of cut flowers do this on a yearly basis, so it can be done by the home gardener too as long as she has a cold frame, greenhouse or other area to grow the bulbs in containers that receives adequate light.
Getting Blooms in Spring
The first necessity is a place for the bulbs to grow. To achieve blooms in spring before other gardeners, it is best to start as early as November and continue planting into March of the following year.
A greenhouse or unheated cold frame is a good choice. Gardeners who use a heated greenhouse may find planting in containers is easier because once the flowers have been harvested, the containers filled with foliage can be moved out of the way. There is no need to dig up bulbs grown in containers as one would do if they were grown in the ground. Simply let the foliage die back, make sure the soil in the container does not dry out enough to dry the bulb up and set the container in an out of the way place.
When the time comes to encourage the bulbs to re-bloom, simply move the container back into a lighted area and water well.
November Bulb Planting
To get blooms as early as February in a heated greenhouse, one must start as early as November. Bulbs planted during this month will offer an array of cut flowers from February though May.
Acidanthera bulbs can be planted on the first day of the month. They will not bloom until the following July.
Anemone bulbs should be planted on the second day of the month. They will offer the first blooms of the season, often blooming in time for Valentine’s Day.
Iris rhizomes planted on the third day of November, in the heated greenhouse, will bloom in April.
Triteleia bulbs should be planted on the fourth day of November to ensure blooms in May.
Bulbs to Plant in December
Iris can be planted as late as December first in the heated greenhouse. Remember that the earlier you plant them, the earlier they will bloom. Succession planting of iris rhizomes from the third of November through the beginning of December will offer a succession of longer blooms in spring.
As with iris, triteleia can be planted every few days or even once a week, in the heated greenhouse for a succession of blooms in spring. December planted triteleia will bloom in May.
Anemone is another bulb that can be succession planted from the second day of November through the second Monday of December. Remember this though, the earlier you plant, the earlier they will bloom. Later planted bulbs will bloom later in the month, so plan accordingly.
Ranunculus bulbs should be planted on the second Wednesday of December in a heated greenhouse.
Stocks make a great cut flower for Mother’s Day. To accomplish this, make sure to plant young stocks on the 15th of December.
The last bulb to plant in December is freesia. This should be planted on December 16th.
As you can see, a variety of bulbs can be planted in November and December for early blooms in spring. Do not feel limited by the bulbs mentioned here. Try other bulbs as well, but be sure to keep records of how each bulb performed for future reference.