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Fall Bulbs Planting 101

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Planting bulbs in fall is one of the easiest ways to get your garden ready for spring! With some early planning and patience, any gardener can create a stunning spring flower display.

What are Fall Bulbs? Fall bulbs are flower bulbs which are planted in fall to provide beautiful blooms in the spring. Most common bulb flowers can be planted in fall including tulips, hyacinths, crocus, and daffodils. All of these bulbs rely on a cooling period through the winter to bloom in the spring! Planting these bulbs in early-mid fall (before frost) allows them time to grow a healthy root system before winter comes, which provides them with the strength and nutrients to bloom in the spring.

It is important to understand your hardiness zone before planting fall bulbs. Hardiness zones are used to determine whether a specific plant variety can survive through the change of temperatures throughout the year. Higher numbers are warmer regions, while lower numbers are regions with colder winters. In order to get the best results, no matter what plants you are growing, it is important to know your hardiness zone and plant accordingly. If you plant bulbs when it is still too warm out, they may be too eager to grow and begin sprouting before the frost. On the other hand, if you plant bulbs when it is too cold out, they will not have time to establish a root system and may succumb to the cold of winter. Be sure to plant your fall bulbs when it is the right time for your zone! We recommend around 6 weeks before a hard frost.

How do you plant fall bulbs? Planting your fall bulbs correctly will make all the difference come spring! Make sure soil is well-draining, and avoid areas in the garden that collect heavy water such as a downspout. Ensure that the location you choose will provide the plant with enough sun exposure come spring. Most spring-blooming bulbs require full sun!

Pay attention to recommended planting depths when preparing your garden. Most larger bulbs varieties can be planted 8" deep, while smaller varieties are planted 5" deep. A general rule of thumb is that the bulbs should not be planted deeper than 3x it's diameter. For example, if a bulb is 2" in diameter, it should be planted no deeper than 6" deep. Always plant the bulb with the pointed side up, and flat side down. Cover your bulbs with soil and give them some water. Throughout the season, you can let the winter rains and snow take care of watering, but don't let the bulbs completely dry up.

Now that your bulbs are planted, it is time to sit back and wait until spring! As the warm season arrives, you will begin to notice foliage beginning to emerge from the ground, and flowers will follow soon after. The after-care for bulbs is simple! In general, you don't need to do anything other than ensure the soil stays moist - which the spring rains will help with. After the plant has bloomed and faded, let the plant die back through the end of the season. During this period of dying back, the plant is regaining it's energy to continue it's life cycle! If planted and cared for properly, bulbs can last for years on end!

Ready to get a head start on your spring garden? Check out our unique assortment of fall bulbs, ready to plant now!


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