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.

fall gardening how to plant bulbs for 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.

fall gardening how to plant bulbs for amazing spring flowers

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.


fall gardening how to plant bulbs for amazing spring flowers

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.


fall gardening how to plant bulbs for amazing spring flowers

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 .


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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 12 questions
  • Skip Foy
    on Oct 14, 2018

    I tried your link for more details for fall planting and it is broken. Could not be found. Would you Help please.

  • Lorrie Bruns Hackbardt
    on Oct 24, 2018

    How much mulch can cover the bulbs after planting? I had a spot in mind to plant my crocus, tulip and daffodils, but there is about 5 inches of mulch before I get to dirt.

    • Joanna - Gingham Gardens
      on Oct 24, 2018

      Hi Lorrie, I don’t think the mulch will affect the bulbs from coming up. It might slow them down a bit. 5” seems like a lot, but I think your bulbs should be fine. Good luck!

  • Patty
    on Dec 4, 2018

    Can bulbs be left in he ground or all year? If so, what is the best way to protect them from the cold? My area gets cold & there are a few days, in the winter, when the temps go down to freezing, but th ground dosen't freeze. I'm in the southern California high desert. Thank you.

    • Joanna - Gingham Gardens
      on Dec 4, 2018

      Hi Patty, yes most bulbs should be planted and left in the ground. That being said there are some tender bulbs like gladiolas, begonias, etc that need to be dug up and stored over winter. This all depends on what gardening zone you live in. I would encourage you to do some more research if you are interested in gardening. It’s a very gratifying hobby. I have lots of information and tutorials on my blog- https://GinghamGardens.com

      Good Luck

Join the conversation

3 of 26 comments
  • Pat
    on Oct 11, 2018

    Joanna think you so much for your simple instructions!

  • 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!

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