Fall Gardening - How to Plant Bulbs for Amazing Spring Flowers

5 Materials
30 Minutes

Although it's very easy, planting bulbs in the fall is honestly not one of my favorite things to do, and I’m usually out there cursing myself for buying so many. BUT, come spring I’m so happy I went to the trouble to plant them. After a long Minnesota winter, there’s nothing I like better than to see those bits of green popping up through the soil, and then the resulting bright, cheery and amazing spring flowers.

There are lots and lots of bulbs you can plant in the fall for spring flowers. Some of my favorites are: tulips, daffodils, grape hyacinths, crocus, allium, snowdrops and hyacinths.

Tips for Planting Bulbs

  • Make sure the temps are below 60 before you plant bulbs, but before the ground freezes. Last year, I got in a hurry and planted bulbs to soon and they started coming up a few weeks later when we got a warm spell. This spring when they were supposed to come up, they did not. Fortunately, I had ordered from a reputable company and they replaced the bulbs.
  • There are so many bulb planting gadgets, but I think I have the perfect shovel for planting bulbs. I like a bunch of flowers together, not one flower and then six inches down the line another one.
  • Plant bulbs close to other perennials (like daylilies or hostas) that come up later, so their foliage will cover the dying foliage of the bulb after they are done flowering.
  • Planting bulbs in mounds or groups is so much more aesthetically pleasing than planting them in rows. I never plant bulbs 3 inches apart or whatever the instructions say. We're talking flowers here, not soldiers, so no straight lines.


Easy Steps for Planting Bulbs

  • First, rake back the mulch from the area where you want to plant your bulbs.
  • Next, dig a hole as deep as the instructions on the package call for (typically 2-3 times the size of the bulb) and big enough to hold anywhere from 8 – 12 bulbs.
  • If the soil isn't the greatest, add in some compost and a little bulb fertilizer.
  • Next, dump in the bulbs. Space the bulbs out a bit leaving a little room in between and make sure the bulbs are turned right side up.
  • Last, fill the hole back up, pack it down and spread the mulch back over it.


I tried to keep these instructions pretty simple, so anyone could follow them. Those of you that have never planted bulbs in the fall, I would encourage you to give it a try this year. Start with something easy like daffodils and don't go overboard like I do. The result of your efforts will be cheery spring flowers, like tulips, daffodils, grape hyacinths, crocus, etc., etc. For a little more detail, tips and ideas on planting bulbs in the fall, check out the post  here.


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Joanna - Gingham Gardens

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 17 questions
  • Dot
    on Sep 13, 2019

    I have plants that are bulbs that multiply and I need to dig up some and move to another spot. I live down in gulf shores al. When would u suggest digging up the bulbs and moving them

  • Eliza Spear
    Eliza Spear
    on Sep 13, 2019

    Squirrels and chipmunks ravished my last fall plantings.,how do I stop that from happening next spring? I have to replant nearly everything.

    • Sandi Remedios
      Sandi Remedios
      on Sep 14, 2019

      Squirrels like tulips, they also go for newly disturbed dirt. If you must have tulips, consider planting with fritillaria, the smell drives them away. However, you might not like it either.

      Also plant them deeper than the instructions say (don't worry they will find their own level) and tamp the earth down well.

      Cover the new plantings with chicken wire, pegged down so they can't dig through it. The bulbs will grow through the wire.

      Then cover with mulch, so it is not so obvious, there is a new smorgasbord available.

      Or just plant daffodils, squirrels don't like daffodils, and they are hardier, multiply and last for years, unlike tulips which often peter out after a couple of years anyway.

  • Sharon
    on Sep 14, 2019

    new to planting in central Florida so when should I plant bulbs? Also does hosta plants survive here?

    • Joanna - Gingham Gardens
      Joanna - Gingham Gardens
      on Sep 14, 2019

      Hi Sharon, I’m so sorry, I cannot answer your questions. Perhaps another Florida gardener will weigh in. As an alternative, you can google your questions. Thanks so much for taking the time to read the article. Good luck!

Join the conversation

4 of 29 comments
  • Ohhhdear
    on Nov 2, 2018

    Planting tulips? If you have ground moles, you’ve just planted their winter dinners! To prevent feeding moles or ground squirrels those expensive tulip bulbs, roll small gauge chicken wire into tubes, insert the bulbs, pinch shut the tube ends and plant the bulb filled tube!

    • Jody
      on Sep 12, 2019

      Yes, indeed! Gophers won't EAT daffodil bulbs, but they will MOVE them around and even bring them up on top of the ground! If you are doing a pretty configuration of bulbs, as Joanna suggested, put the whole thing in a gopher cage.

  • Cat
    on Sep 12, 2019

    ugh, i can't have tulips because of the all the deer around, so I'm going to have to stick w/ daffodils and maybe some alium. I'm waiting for an order to arrive so I can get ready to plant! today in Maryland is 90 degrees so I'm probably waiting til October.

    • Joanna - Gingham Gardens
      Joanna - Gingham Gardens
      on Sep 12, 2019

      Hi Cat - yes, definitely wait until late October or November to plant your bulbs. I've decided this year, I'm not going to plant tulips. I'm sticking with daffodils, grape hyacinths and a few others that critters don't like. Good luck and happy gardening!

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