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posted: 10/20/2013 1:00 AM

Tips for planting bulbs

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By Mary Boldan

Q. How should I plant bulbs so that they put on a beautiful spring showing?

A. Here are tips on placing bulbs in the garden so that they will look their best, too:

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• Plant bulbs in groups, rather than one here and there. Clumps of bulbs look much more natural and impressive.

• Use small bulbs like crocus at the edge of beds. Taller bulbs like daffodils and tulips look better toward the middle or back of the bed.

• Extend the bloom season by planting some of the bulbs within a clump a bit deeper than recommended, some at the recommended depth and some a bit more shallow.

Q. I have a couple of Confederate Jasmine plants that are not hardy enough to live through a Skokie winter, so I brought them indoors. When they bloom they have a great fragrance that I would love to have over winter. Is there a way I can "trick" them into thinking it is spring so they bloom?

A. Indoors, Confederate jasmine grows best in bright indirect or curtain-filtered sunlight except in winter, when they need at least four hours of direct sunlight a day. Night temperatures of 50 degrees to 55 degrees F and day temperatures of 68 to 72 degrees F are ideal. While it can be grown inside, you must give it conditions close to what it gets outdoors to be successful. It needs sun for as many hours a day as possible (at least four hours), not just bright light. It would be happier with a 10 degree temperature drop at night. It needs well-draining soil. Adding perlite to potting soil works well. While you should not overwater (do not let it stand with water in drain tray), do not allow it to be dry for more than a day either. It should bloom for you in early spring. In the summer I would put it outdoors in full sun.

• Provided by Master Gardener Mary Boldan. Master Gardener Answer Desk, located at Friendship Park Conservatory, 395 Algonquin, Des Plaines, is open 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays. Call (847) 298-3502 or email Cookcountymg.com@gmail.com

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