Tips and Tricks for success with planting spring blooming bulbs in the Fall for early Spring color.
Tulips, Daffodils, Alliums, Hyacinths and Crocus are best planted in September or October. It’s easy to do and worth the effort when Spring comes. Remember the garlic cloves! If you want to harvest garlic from your own garden you need to plan now and get them in the ground before winter.
- Everyone loves tulips! They make a great cut flower, and varieties typically bloom from late April through late May. Plant any bulb at a depth twice its height. For example, a 4″ tulip, the bottom of the bulb should be planted 8″ deep.
- Place bone meal or other bulb food at the bottom of the hole. Always plant “tip side” up, if you’re unsure which side is up, plant the bulb on its side, the shoots will make a path to the surface. However, if planted upside down, they will not bloom.
- If adding Minor bulbs, such as grape hyacinth, plant the main bulbs first at their appropriate depth in the bottom of the hole. Back fill the hole with soil. Plant the minor bulbs on top at their correct depth.
- Place a piece of chicken wire over the hole, or sprinkle cayenne pepper on top of the soil to discourage squirrel invasion.
Plant at least 50 of one variety – for example the Darwin Tulip – for the most impact. You may choose multiple colors of that variety, or a mass of all one color but, by sticking with one variety you will have a more uniform appearance of blooms in the Spring.
Location and Variety
- Most all Fall Bulbs require full sun. Early spring provides the benefit of full sun almost anywhere in the landscape as trees will not fully leaf out while the bulbs are in bloom.
- High visibility areas are great for flowering bulb placement. Choose areas along an entryway or areas viewed from a window.
- If you are concerned about deer eating the foliage, or squirrels digging the bulbs, plant allium and daffodils which are poisonous and thus won’t be eaten.
- Plant bulbs between perennials for a “jack-in-the-box” effect. As the bulb foliage is dying back down, the perennials emerge and hide the yellowing leaves.
- Consider planting bulbs with perennials that bloom at the same time for a dramatic effect or plant spring flowering bulbs with cool season annuals, like pansies and violas.
- Add unique flowering bulbs such as fritillaria or allium. Allium bloom in late Spring through June. Some are as short as 6″and others as tall as 40″, and make excellent cut flowers.
Every Fall, established bulbs appreciate a top dressing of fertilizer to help encourage the stems to shoot to the surface in the early Spring.
Spring Flowering Bulb Bloom Sequence
- APRIL: Daffodils, Crocus, Most Minor Bulbs – Muscari, Puschkinia, Galanthus
- EARLY MAY: Early Tulips: Botanical/Kaufmanii/Rock Garden
Emperor – Fosteriana
- MID-MAY: Mid Tulips: Triumph, Single Early, Double Early, Darwin, Fritillaria Crown Imperial
- LATE MAY: Late Tulips: Single Late, Double Late, Lily Flowering, Fringed, Parrot
- JUNE: Most Allium
- AUGUST: Lycoris – Surpise Lily
Get into the garden this fall and look forward to a colorful spring by planting spring blooming bulbs!