It’s not too late to get bulbs underground – but how far?

Editor’s note: Get Growing, written by the La Plata County Extension Office’s Master Gardener Program, appears every other week during the growing season.

By Darrin Parmenter

And you thought the gardening season was over. ... Ha!

While the annuals are long gone and the perennials start their long hibernation, there is still time to plant those spring bulbs. November can potentially be too late to plant, but with this warm (and snow-free) fall, we can still dig relatively easily in the unfrozen soil.

As a general rule, plant the bulbs about four times the height of the bulb and make sure you plant them with the growing tips up (and the root plate down). This means that the larger bulbs, such as lilies and daffodils, need to be planted 9 to 10 inches deep. Bulb augers attached to a drill can greatly assist in the digging of the hole.

Some great (and not so common) choices from Lisa Bourey, director of horticulture with Durango Botanical Society:

Eremurus spp.: The “pop” in your garden, these tall spikes are very showy. Typically bloom in early summer and are about 4 feet tall. Zone 5.

Chionodoxa spp.: Frequently referred to as “Glory of the Snow”; 5-10 flowers per stem and do well as naturalizers. Plants grow to 10 inches tall and are hardy to zone 3. Try planting them in the lawn.

Fritillaria spp.: Another fun plant in the garden that can act as a showcase in the late spring. Bell-shaped flowers that come in all colors and heights. Hardy to zone 4 and perfect for the rock garden.

Many bulbs can still be found at our local nurseries or you can go to and help support Durango Botanical Society. When you select us from the drop-down box, the society receives 25 percent of the proceeds. It is a great way to get high-quality bulbs (select “Genus List” under the shop icon for easiest perusal) and support gardens like the one at Durango Public Library.

See you in 2013. or 382-6464. Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.

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