Oops happens. If you forget to plant, or miss getting your bulbs into the ground on schedule, plant them as soon as you can. Don't save them to plant in spring or the following autumn. Bulbs aren't dormant like seeds. Even if you find an unplanted sack of tulips or daffodils in January or February, plant them then (in garden or in pots) and take your chances.
Plant in preferred sites. You can plant bulbs anywhere in your yard or garden - so long as the soil drains well and there will be enough sunshine. Avoid areas where water collects or puddles. Remember, in early spring, most trees have not leafed out yet, so sunny spots are generally easier to come by.
Plant the pointy end up. In most cases, even if you don't get it right, the bulb flower will still find its way topside. If you're really unsure, plant the bulb on its side. It will right itself.
Forget fertilizer. No fertilizer is necessary for a bulb's first-year bloom, so don't waste your money.
Add water, wait. After planting, it's a good idea to water bulb plantings well, so their roots start growing. This is an essential part of their life cycle.
Linda's second question: I have two offshoots of a butterfly bush coming up beside another mature bush. I would like to transplant these offshoots. Do I do this now or wait until next spring?
Handle transplanting a butterfly bush just like any other shrub -- prepare the site where you will place the bushes, dig up as much root system as possible, and make sure you water water water water! Since it blooms on new growth, prune it back to the ground during its dormancy in winter or very early in the spring.
Finally, wonderful gardener Sue Zaldivar asks about Calla lilies.
"For the first time in three years, my calla lilies bloomed and I have a zillion seeds from the pods. I got them from the Master Gardener's sale, and I forget when to plant the seeds. Fall or spring?"
I've been looking for an answer for this one, and most of the gardeners out there say that callas can indeed be grown from seed -- and if you're not careful, you could end up with hundreds of these little darlings. I'm hearing "spring" as the answer for planting time, but many people germinate them indoors in pots and then transplant.
When you're ready, plant the seeds no more than 1/4 inch deep and, if you can, space them about 1/2 inch apart. Don't worry if you can't separate all these sticky seeds. Just spread a bunch of them in the pot, cover with dirt, and keep them warm, sunny and moist. The resultant seedlings are pretty tough and can be separated later, after they've grown two or three leaves.
Germination time can vary quite a bit. I've had some pots of seeds come up within four or five days, and other pots seemed to take a month or more. These seeds are quite viable, though, and they will come up eventually. Treat the seedlings mostly the way you would adults. Just keep the warm, moist - not soggy - with lots of sun, avoiding the hottest midday sun, if possible. Repot as needed for size and space.
Under optimum growing conditions, you might get a bloom in their second year; otherwise, expect something in their third year.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.