All About Planting Spring Blooming Bulbs in Fall
Bright and beautiful tulips, daffodils and hyacinths are welcome cues of spring’s arrival. But to enjoy their lovely blooms, it requires a little planning ahead as spring flowering bulbs should be planted the previous fall. Cool fall weather allows time for the bulbs to winter over, producing cheerful flowers the following spring. Below are hints and how to’s on planting spring blooming bulbs in fall.
Spring flowering bulbs can be purchased at garden or home retailers, or online. If you buy early, bulbs can be stored for a month or so in a cool, dry place.
A few spring blooming favorites include:
Hardy and easy to care for, daffodils are available in a huge range of flower types including trumpet, large-cupped, double, jonquilla, miniature, poeticus and small-cupped.
Daffodil varieties include-
- Butterfly – two-toned daffodils that come in pink, white, orange and yellow. Butterfly daffodils thrive in sunny areas.
- Tete-a-tete (miniature) – most popular miniature type of daffodil. Tete-a-tete bloom in the early spring.
- Cheerfulness – bloom in the mid or late spring and can be forced indoors for winter bloom. Cheerfulness daffodils have a sweet fragrance.
- Golden Ducat – has large, vibrant yellow petals and blooms in the mid-spring.
- Tahiti – gold and orange in color, these blooms are sure to brighten your garden.
Tulips come in a variety of colors making it easy to have a vibrant garden when just sticking with this type of bulb.
Tulip varieties include-
- Darwin – classic tulip shape and come in a variety of colors such as yellow, orange and red. Darwin tulips grow well in full sun and partial shade.
- Foxtrot – bloom in the early to mid-spring. Foxtrot tulips are a mix of pink and white colors.
- Pink Star – feathered petal edges with large magenta and apricot blooms.
- Purple Peony – deep purple in color, Purple Peony tulips bloom in the late spring and have a sweet fragrance.
- Red Emperor – a favored type of tulip with its bright blooms, Red Emperor tulips prefer full sun.
Hyacinth bulbs come in single, double and multiflora flower types.
Hyacinth Varieties include-
- Blue Jacket – blooms in mid-spring. Blue Jacket hyacinth return annually with vibrant blue florets.
- Carnegie – long lasting and have a beautiful fragrance. The white color of the Carnegie hyacinth blooms are known by many.
- Miss Saigon – deep purple blooms that look beautiful next to daffodils. Miss Saigon hyacinths prefer full sun or partial shade.
- Jan Bos – will bring an alluring fragrance to your garden. Jan Bos hyacinths come in a bright hot-pink color.
- Hollyhock – pink in color, Hollyhock hyacinth have double florets. Blooms in mid to late spring.
If you plant more than one type of crocus, your garden will have flowers throughout the entire spring season as varying types of crocus bloom at different times.
Crocus Varieties include-
- Yellow Mammoth – large yellow flowering crocus that blooms in the early spring.
- Pickwick – calyx-shaped flowers that open when the sun shines. Pickwick crocus have purple and white striped flowers with an orange stamen.
- Joan of Arc – white flowers with an eye-catching orange stamen. Flowers close at night and open in the morning.
- Remembrance – prefer full sun to partial shade. Remembrance crocus are purple flowers in a cup-like shape.
- Tri-color -lilac blue petals with a white band and orange center. Blooms in the early spring.
When to Plant Spring Blooming Bulbs
Plant your bulbs when evening temps are between 40 to 50 degrees, or six weeks before your area’s first hard freeze. You can check your state’s frost date, online at The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
If you live in planting zones 8 to 11, your spring flowering bulbs may require pre-chilling in order to bloom the following spring. To pre-chill bulbs put them your refrigerator for approximately 6 to 10 weeks. (Don’t store them near fruit as the emitted ethylene gas can be harmful to the bulbs.)
Save the label packaging from your purchased bulbs so you can determine the bulb type and bloom color. It’s easy to get mixed up as the bulbs look similar.
Where to Plant Spring Blooming Bulbs
Spring flowering bulbs can be planted most anywhere where there is plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil. On a garden slope, under deciduous trees, in containers or along a fence border- the choices are endless!
Bulb Planting- Step by Step
- Dig and loosen the soil to an 8-inch depth, removing small rocks, weeds, and leaves as you go.
- Follow the instructions on the packaging to determine planting depth. Overall, small bulbs are usually planted at a 5-inch depth; larger bulbs are planted approximately 8-inches deep.
- Place the bulb in the prepared hole with the pointed side toward you. If it’s hard to tell top from bottom, plant the bulb on its side. It will find its way upward.
- Once the bulbs are in place, slightly overfill the holes with soil. Lightly press down the soil with your hand of the back of a trowel, to ‘firm’ them in. Water thoroughly.
Landscape Ideas for Flowering Bulb Placement
Creatively arranging bulbs in the garden to form a striking visual display is an art in itself. Whether you prefer wide swaths of color or neat, orderly rows here’s a few flowering bulb design ideas.
Plant early blooming, low growing bulbs in the front and plant taller, late blooming bulbs in the back. The withering leaves of early blooming varieties will be hidden by the taller, late blooming variety.
Large Swaths and Clusters
Planting bulbs in a long, thin line looks sparse and less than exciting. Large swaths or clusters of flowers create an impressive, eye-pleasing display. Large groupings of a singular color make an especially spectacular show.
Extend your flower show by staggering bulb bloom times. Plant early, mid and late season daffodil bulbs together to create an ongoing flower display. You’ll enjoy a succession of blooms, over several weeks.
After Bloom Care
When your flowers have ceased blooming, trim the flowers with shears but leave the green. Bulbs use the foliage to store up nutrients for next season’s blooms. It’s safe to trim the plants when the foliage has turned yellow.
Planning ahead is totally worth it when planting these blooming bulbs this fall. Springtime will bring beautiful flowers throughout your garden thanks to the little extra time you spent in your garden this autumn.
- Daffodil Bulbs
- Tulip Bulbs
- Hyacinths Bulbs
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