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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
How and when will my plants be shipped:  Bloomex will ship your plants when they are released from the grower and when climatic conditions are suitable in your region of the country. Generally, summer bulbs and bare root will ship at the end of March and the beginning to middle of April. Spring bulbs will be shipped in September and October, giving you plenty of time to plant prior to freeze-up.  In either case, you will receive your plants when it is suitable to plant them. With this approach you will not have to worry about proper storage, we will ensure your plants remain dormant until such time as they can be safely planted.
Will my plants survive the winter:  All plants have specific climatic requirements, the most significant of which is winter minimum temperature.  Plants are given hardiness ratings based on many years of recorded observation and climatic variables. At Bloomex we use the modified Plant Hardiness index developed by Agriculture and Natural Resources Canada. Interestingly, the new system clearly demonstrates that in many areas of the country conditions have changes so much in the past 50 years that some regions have changed by an entire zone, for example: from 1961-1990 Ajax, Ontario was considered a zone 5b, presently it is a zone 6b, Hudson Hope, BC was a 3b, now it is a 4a.  Your plants will survive the winter if they have a rating commensurate with the zone in which you reside. This is not to say that the creative and attentive gardener cannot over-winter a zone 6 plant in zone 5, in fact many do.
When should I plant: You should plant your new additions as soon as possible after they arrive, weather permitting of course.  If your soil or air temperature is still hovering at frigid levels, wait until danger of frost has passed and store your summer bulbs in a cool and dry location above freezing.
What should I feed my plants: Many commercial fertilizers exist, the majority of them, until recently, where manufactured synthetically. Although these formulations have served us well for many decades, contemporary trends are leaning toward organically sourced and derived mixtures. The benefit of these fertilizers lies in the fact that they are comprised of compounds that plants have evolved to utilize efficiently over many millennia. Another benefit of organic fertilizers lies in the fact that they do not contribute to the decline or destruction of soil organisms which are themselves of immense importance to healthy and diverse soil ecosystems and by extension your plants.
Are pesticides safe to use on my plants:  In theory many are, however, with proper planning and monitoring you should never have to use them. Sometimes though, your plants will benefit from a little intervention. We encourage you to investigate natural alternatives which are almost always as effective, far less costly and much safer for you, your family, your pets, and of course the environment. Be sure to check our blog, we will be posting many safe and natural alternatives to commercial preparations.
Watering:  Appropriate watering is the most important consideration for gardeners. Plants require water to survive, if exposed to extremes, your plants will suffer. Each plant is unique in this regard so research your varieties and develop a strategy. Most plants will require the equivalent of one inch each week, in very hot or cold conditions this will vary. Consistent, deep watering will be more effective than transient, irregular watering.
How do I save my tender flowering bulbs for next year:  The perennial question (pun intended). Virtually all of your bulbs are capable of spending a winter inside your home. Once the leaves have withered, simply uproot the bulbs, tubers, and corms and air-dry them enough so that the soil falls away and place them into trays, flats or cardboard cartons layered with dry soilless mix, coco coir or even animal bedding and store in a cool, dry area above freezing. If you intend to lift your tender plants, it is a good idea to place a marker stake adjacent to the bulb or tuber early in the season so you can easily locate it in the fall after the leaves have withered and fallen off. Note, some plants like Begonias will become weaker with succeeding seasons and need to be replaced after a couple of seasons.
How do I know if my soil is appropriate for gardening: Virtually every garden information source will recommend you undertake a soil analysis. In Canada, this is easier said than done. Soil testing labs can be difficult to find and expensive. Essentially, the information you want is fairly straight forward: NPK and micronutrients, soil texture, soil drainage, and bulk density. If you are familiar with the history of the site you will be gardening, you are way ahead of the game. An undisturbed location is likely to be in better condition than one used as a lawn (heavy inputs of chemical fertilizer, skewed NPK ratios), a suburban yard will likely have an altered soil structure resulting from construction, and a rural location will likely be undisturbed.  Every soil will benefit from some amendment, usually organic matter as it oxidizes and degrades naturally over time.  A clay soil will benefit from the addition of sand and organic matter, a true organic soil ( if you are so blessed) may benefit from the addition of mineral matter ( if growing Dahlias for example). Check our blog for our rendition of a DIY soil test anyone can perform and which will provide you with most of the information you will require.
How and when will my plants be shipped: Bloomex will ship your plants when they are released from the grower and when climatic conditions are suitable in your region of the country. Generally, summer bulbs and bare root will ship at the end of March and the beginning to middle of April. Spring bulbs will be shipped in September and October, giving you plenty of time to plant prior to freeze-up.  In either case, you will receive your plants when it is suitable to plant them. With this approach you will not have to worry about proper storage, we will ensure your plants remain dormant until such time as they can be safely planted.
Will my plants survive the winter: All plants have specific climatic requirements, the most significant of which is winter minimum temperature.  Plants are given hardiness ratings based on many years of recorded observation and climatic variables. At Bloomex we use the modified Plant Hardiness index developed by Agriculture and Natural Resources Canada. Interestingly, the new system clearly demonstrates that in many areas of the country conditions have changes so much in the past 50 years that some regions have changed by an entire zone, for example: from 1961-1990 Ajax, Ontario was considered a zone 5b, presently it is a zone 6b, Hudson Hope, BC was a 3b, now it is a 4a.  Your plants will survive the winter if they have a rating commensurate with the zone in which you reside. This is not to say that the creative and attentive gardener cannot over-winter a zone 6 plant in zone 5, in fact many do.
When should I plant: You should plant your new additions as soon as possible after they arrive, weather permitting of course.  If your soil or air temperature is still hovering at frigid levels, wait until danger of frost has passed and store your summer bulbs in a cool and dry location above freezing.
What should I feed my plants: Many commercial fertilizers exist, the majority of them, until recently, where manufactured synthetically. Although these formulations have served us well for many decades, contemporary trends are leaning toward organically sourced and derived mixtures. The benefit of these fertilizers lies in the fact that they are comprised of compounds that plants have evolved to utilize efficiently over many millennia. Another benefit of organic fertilizers lies in the fact that they do not contribute to the decline or destruction of soil organisms which are themselves of immense importance to healthy and diverse soil ecosystems and by extension your plants.
Are pesticides safe to use on my plants: In theory many are, however, with proper planning and monitoring you should never have to use them. Sometimes though, your plants will benefit from a little intervention. We encourage you to investigate natural alternatives which are almost always as effective, far less costly and much safer for you, your family, your pets, and of course the environment. Be sure to check our blog, we will be posting many safe and natural alternatives to commercial preparations.
Watering: Appropriate watering is the most important consideration for gardeners. Plants require water to survive, if exposed to extremes, your plants will suffer. Each plant is unique in this regard so research your varieties and develop a strategy. Most plants will require the equivalent of one inch each week, in very hot or cold conditions this will vary. Consistent, deep watering will be more effective than transient, irregular watering.
How do I save my tender flowering bulbs for next year: The perennial question (pun intended). Virtually all of your bulbs are capable of spending a winter inside your home. Once the leaves have withered, simply uproot the bulbs, tubers, and corms and air-dry them enough so that the soil falls away and place them into trays, flats or cardboard cartons layered with dry soilless mix, coco coir or even animal bedding and store in a cool, dry area above freezing. If you intend to lift your tender plants, it is a good idea to place a marker stake adjacent to the bulb or tuber early in the season so you can easily locate it in the fall after the leaves have withered and fallen off. Note, some plants like Begonias will become weaker with succeeding seasons and need to be replaced after a couple of seasons.
How do I know if my soil is appropriate for gardening: Virtually every garden information source will recommend you undertake a soil analysis. In Canada, this is easier said than done. Soil testing labs can be difficult to find and expensive. Essentially, the information you want is fairly straight forward: NPK and micronutrients, soil texture, soil drainage, and bulk density. If you are familiar with the history of the site you will be gardening, you are way ahead of the game. An undisturbed location is likely to be in better condition than one used as a lawn (heavy inputs of chemical fertilizer, skewed NPK ratios), a suburban yard will likely have an altered soil structure resulting from construction, and a rural location will likely be undisturbed.  Every soil will benefit from some amendment, usually organic matter as it oxidizes and degrades naturally over time.  A clay soil will benefit from the addition of sand and organic matter, a true organic soil ( if you are so blessed) may benefit from the addition of mineral matter ( if growing Dahlias for example). Check our blog for our rendition of a DIY soil test anyone can perform and which will provide you with most of the information you will require.