Gardening

The Rule of Three

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Plant bulbs at at depth 3 times their height and space them at 3 times their diameter.

The basic rule for planting bulbs is to plant them at a depth equal to three times the height of the bulb and to space them at three times their diameter. In very cold climates (zone 3 or less), it may be helpful to bury hardy bulbs deeper than normal, up to a depth equal to five times the height of the bulb. That way the bulb will be better protected against the cold.

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Tulips perenniallze best when planted 1 foot (30 cm) deep. Photo: fiercebloom.com

It is also worthwhile making am exception for hybrid tulips, like Triumphs, Parrots, and Darwin Hybrids. You’ll find that they will be more more perennial and better protected from squirrels if you plant 1 foot (30 cm) deep. That’s about twice the usual recommendation.

Even so, only plant tulip bulbs extra deep when you can offer them loose, well-drained soils. In heavy clay soil, which the tulip’s spring shoot  has more difficulty piercing, it is better to stick to the original rule of three!011.K

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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