Friday, October 30, 2015

Fall Gardening: Time to Plant Those Spring Blooming Bulbs! -Planting Guide

Spring Blooming Bulbs
Fall has arrived and it is time to plant your spring-blooming bulbs! Bulbs require a chilling period so plant your bulbs anytime in fall before the soil freezes but early enough so the root systems can grow before extremely cold weather sets in. Generally, in the coldest areas (Zones 1-4) bulbs should be planted in late August into September and in moderate climates (Zones 4 -7) planting can occur anytime after the temperatures start to dip in September through late November. Various bulbs prefer to be planted a little higher or lower (as shown below) for best development. Generally, bulbs should be planted so the bottom rests at a depth that is two-and-a-half times the bulb's diameter. In a well-drained or sandy soil, plant an inch or two deeper to discourage damage from rodents and increase the longevity of your plants.

Credit: Fall Planting Guide

Purple Crocus

Yellow Crocus

For maximum visual impact, plant bulbs in mass using a garden spade instead of a bulb planter (which encourages single planting) and combine many bulbs together in holes approximately the size of a dinner plate. It is recommended to loosen the top eight inches of soil and mix in a two-inch layer of compost with the loosened soil or use a prepared bulb food while planting to supply nutrients to the bulbs. If using a bulb food be sure to mix the granules into the surrounding soil around the bulb. Avoid placing food directly under the roots to prevent burning. For spring-blooming bulbs prepare the soil in fall, six weeks before the first frost or for summer varieties prepare in spring after the last frost. Apply a layer of mulch to protect your bulbs and water thoroughly after planting to encourage root development.
Purple Dutch Hyacinth (Purple Hyacinthus Peter Stuyvesant)

White Dutch Hyacinth (White hyacinth 'Aiolos')

Muscari armeniacum (Grape Hyacinth)

Different types of bulbs can be layered from bottom to top in the same planting hole to  form a succession of blooms in a given location. For example, you can combine the larger Dutch Hyacinths and smaller Grape Hyacinths in the same hole. Place the larger bulbs first with the smaller bulbs scattered an inch or so above.  The two will bloom at the same time but the smaller plants will fill in between the larger ones. The same can be done with daffodils and other plantings.
Miniature Daffodils

Yellow Tulips

Magenta Tulips
Bulbs can also be planted as companion plants that will complement one another in spring. Try a combination of tulips with an under story of Grape Hyacinths or Allium with a bulb or perennial of choice at the base.  Companion planting will provide a layering effect and provide your garden with additional interest. Consider the growing height of each bulb while planning. Generally, taller growing bulbs should be placed in the rear of the planting bed while shorter growing bulbs (or perennials) are in the front. A favorite combination of mine is a grouping of Allium with an under story of perennial Stella D Oro Daylily. The green foliage from the daylilies masks the dying foliage of the Allium in late spring/early summer while the voluminous blooms of the Allium look from overhead, followed by blooms array of interest!
Tulip Collection Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Allium Globemaster and Stella D Oro Daylily Combination

Allium Globemaster
Allium Mont Blanc

Different varieties of Allium can be combined for interest as well...
Mixed Bulbs (Tulips, Hyacinths and Daffodils)
or perhaps a mix of several varieties of bulbs may be the look you are seeking. Here is a combination of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils all planted together in mass for maximum impact.
Spring Flowering Bulbs
  Bulbs can add so much interest to the early spring and summer garden and the possibilities are endless. For some early color in your spring landscape try adding some bulbs to your garden this fall. It's not too late...the time to plant is now!

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Linking to Today's Flowers

  Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.


  1. Hi, Lee!
    very interesting schedule of bulb planting in USA. Although I planted the bulbs in early October. Do you love Pushkinia? I do, and grow it with muscuri and scilla.
    Have a nice Sunday!

    1. Your seasons are slightly different there in Russia Nadezda. We can plant here in mid to late October and through November. I have just recently been getting more into bulbs and do like the Pushkinia, but don't have any...yet!

  2. Your hyacinths are gorgeous, and one of my favorite spring bulbs. I just love the smell of them. Because of all the shade in our yard, I don't have good luck with them. I love tulips, too, but they usually die out after a few years. Wish they would last longer. Thanks for all the good information on bulb planting.

    1. Hi Susan. I love the hyacinths as well and they are wonderful when planted in clumps. I have three colors but the purple are definitely my favorite! Thank you for commenting and I am glad you enjoyed the post. Have a great week!

  3. Lots of lovely spring flowers Lee, I still haven’t got any of the bulbs in the ground and I need to get started now as my snowdrops and crocuses are about to emerge soon. Over here we can plant whenever really, as we don’t have any frost in the ground, only exception are tulips, they need to be planted AFTER 1st November or else they might come up in the autumn and that’s not what we want :-)
    Tomorrow I am hoping to start planting some white daffodils and hyacinths.

    1. Enjoy Helene! I always enjoy seeing what you have popping up in your gardens! I am guessing the crocus you have are fall crocus. Those and the snowdrops are nice in the colder temperatures.

  4. Lots of great information and your photos and flowers are gorgeous. Thank you so much for linking with Today's Flowers and I wish you a very happy week.

    1. Thank you Denise. It is always such a wonderful pleasure in spring seeing all the colorful bulbs emerge as the temperatures warm...just have to get through winter first! Thanks for hosting Today's Flowers!

  5. Fabulous bulbs and info...sadly I could not plant any this year with my injury...I had to cancel my order, but next year, I am moving many daffs and planting tulips in a new protected cutting bed.

    1. I am glad you enjoyed the post Donna and hope you feel better soon. Now you have something to look forward to...and there is always something to do in the garden!


Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...