Fall Planting

Have you planted your spring bulbs yet?  If not, you still have a little time but do it soon before the first real freeze happens and the ground is too cold.  When the winter snow begins to melt and little green stalks and leaves start to peak through the frozen ground you'll be so glad you planted these now.

Planting bulbs is easy.  A large variety of flowers come in bulbs, though the most common you'll see show up in early spring are daffodils and tulips.
These will bloom just before your tulips.

They come in a variety of colors.  Consider what will look best around your home.

Here are a few tips to make sure the bulbs you plant now show up bright and beautiful in the spring:

  • A bulb will have a flat, rounded side and a more pointy side. With tulips this is most defined and with other bulbs it could be a bit more difficult to tell which is the pointy end.  Try to make sure the pointy side is up when you put the bulb in the ground. But if you're not quite sure, the bulb will usually find itself right side up on it's own.
  • Bulbs can be planted just about anywhere but make sure to read the package so you'll know if the flower prefers more shade or more sun.  Many bulbs can take either but prefer more sun.
  • Make sure the bulbs are planted in an area where water doesn't sit too long and drains well.  Though they're hardy and easy to care for, bulbs don't like "wet feet" and will rot if soaked too long.
  • Bulbs show best when planted in good company.  Plant them in clusters and never plant just a single bulb by it's lonesome.  Consider when the bulbs bloom or how high they crow and stack them.  For example, plant crocus, which grown short, in front of tulips, which grow tall.
  • In general the fatter the bulb the more flowers it will produce.  When picking out a package of bulbs bigger is usually better.
  • There's no need to fertilize bulbs the first year.  Just make sure the soil you plant them in is loose.  I add a bit of extra potting soil in with the bulbs when I first plant them.
  • Be careful not to plant the bulbs too deep.  Read the package directions and don't plant any deeper than the instructions advise. I've done this too many times only to find nearly none of my bulbs bloom.
  • Plant bulbs in areas where you don't plan to put summer annuals.  Or be prepared to remove the bulbs by early summer to make way for your annuals. Bulbs can be stored over the summer months by digging them up after the foliage begins to die and the bulb goes dormant. Then keep the bulbs over the summer in a well ventilated space to be replanted in the fall.
I'm eager to see how my fall bulb planting efforts will turn out come spring.  I planted 50 Pink Narcissus in my front flower bed.  In my backyard berm I planted red tulips stacked with purple and white crocus in front.