If you think that autumn is the time to stop gardening think again! Bulb-planting time!
Fall-planted bulbs produce the first blooms of next year’s season. The bulbs spend the winter making roots and come up early in the spring.
- In the fall, you’ll find bulbs to purchase everywhere! Make sure you buy your bulbs from a reputable nursery, garden center, or catalog. Second-rate bulbs product second-rate flowers or don’t sprout at all.
- Plant anytime before the ground freezes. In the lower South, where you may not have hard freeze, early November is a good time to plant.
- See the chart below for type of bulbs by hardiness zone. In the warmer South, note that some bulbs need to be treated as annuals instead of perennials (e.g., tulips); they’ll bloom once and then they’re done. Still, they are a beautiful sight to behold and worth it! Other bulbs (e.g., daffodils) will act as perennials and come up year after year.
- For inspiration, visit our Flower Guides which include many common bulbs.
- Ideally, plant your bulbs soon after you purchase them.
- Select a site with lots of sun and well-drained soil. Work a few inches of compost in the soil.
- Plant bulbs generously in case some do not sprout. And plant them in random order and spacing for a more natural appearance. If you love groves of daffodils and blanketed landscapes of tulips, be prepared to buy and plant a large quantity of bulbs!
- In general, plant bulbs at a depth of three times the width of the bulb.
- After planting, apply fertilizer low in nitrogen, such as a 9-6-6 formulation. If your soil’s sandy, plant bulbs slightly deeper; in clay soils, slightly shallower.
- Water well after planting. Apply mulch to keep the weeds down and hold in moisture.
- Do you have voles or chipmunks? Consider planting your bulbs in a “cage” fashioned with chicken wire.