Planting fall bulbs ahead of the game
As the days are cooling off and the leaves are changing and falling, it’s hard to imagine the new growth and warmth of spring.
Though it is months away, now is the time to plan ahead for your flower beds, and start planting your fall bulbs. In addition to cutting back and mulching perennials,
October and November are the best months to plant spring-flowering bulbs such as:
Will these bulbs come back every year?
Spring-flowering bulbs are typically considered hardy, but not necessarily perennial. They are hardy in the sense that they will survive the first winter after being planted, but often fade over the years if they are not planted in absolute ideal conditions. Some may only have a life cycle of 2-3 years, while others may bloom beautifully for decades.
How can you provide ideal conditions for your spring-flowering bulbs?
You cannot control spring and summer temperatures but there are a few things you can do to give your bulbs the best chance for success.
- Start by choosing an ideal location. Bulbs prefer plenty of sunshine.
- Remember to consider the difference in sun exposure in the early spring before leaves have emerged from the trees.
- A shaded spot in the fall or winter may be in the sun in the spring or summer and vice versa.
- Bulbs also require well-drained soil. If they are left to sit in damp soil, they will likely mold or rot.
Why do spring-flowering bulbs need to be planted in the fall?
Bulbs require a cooling, or dormancy, period of at least six to eight weeks. The cold temperatures prevent them from producing new growth that could be susceptible to frost damage. It also forces the bulb to store its energy for growth and blooming in the spring.
How do you plant bulbs?
Most bulbs are shaped like a teardrop. The rounded end should be planted down with the tip pointing up. If the bulb is rounder, like that of an allium, plant the end where roots are emerging facing down. In general, bulbs should be planted at least twice as deep as the bulb is high. Always check the package directions as some varieties may have different requirements. While they can be planted relatively close together, their spring foliage will fill in gaps nicely so leave a few inches of space in between. It is also helpful to add a bulb fertilizer such as bone meal at the time of planting. Mix this in with the soil to promote root development.
How do you design a bed of bulbs?
With bulbs, the more you plant the bigger the impact. Most spring-flowering bulbs come up before perennials when the landscape can be rather bare.
Planting bulbs will help to fill in gaps in your early spring landscape. Use clusters or curves to give beds a more natural look than single bulbs or single straight rows.
Once your bulbs are finished blooming in the spring, cut back their remaining foliage to the ground to allow room for your annuals and perennials to take
over for the summer.
Be sure to check out our selection of spring-flowering bulbs this fall. We offer a wide variety of colors and species.
You will be happy you planted them next spring when you reap the reward of seeing their colorful blooms.