Planting Bulbs In Fall

crocus buds in spring

Fall bulbs now is the time to plan for that Spring bulb garden for weeks of gorgeous color. There are hundreds of varieties and combinations awaiting your pleasure.

Begin With Minor Bulbs

The first flower bulbs to plant in fall are the so-called minor bulbs, such as:

  • Crocus
  • Scillas
  • Snowdrops

…continuing with a wide range of daffodils and a selection of fragrant hyacinths, you can climax this flowering period with the versatile tulip.

How Many Bulbs To Plant?

The first consideration is estimating how many bulbs to plant. If you have taken up last year’s bulbs, carefully inspect them and replant only the larger ones in beds or borders. The smaller bulbs can be used in an out-of-the-way corner or in a cutting garden to provide blooms for the house.

When it comes to adding to your collection, your local nursery can assist in selecting varieties. However, one must be certain of a good quality product.

spring bulb garden

Order Early For Best Selection

Early ordering is essential to get the best flower bulb selection.

If your bulbs arrive before the date of planting, open the packages to allow for air circulation. In fact, it would be advisable to place them in open containers, provided the labels are not mixed. A garage or other cool place will offer suitable storage.

Another important consideration is where to plant in order to obtain those gorgeous pictures that one sees online, in catalogs and gardening magazines. Bulbs feel at home in almost any well-drained soil, but their full value is often lost through improper arrangement.

Naturalized Bulbs Under Trees

The minor bulbs are at their best when naturalized under trees or planted in small groups where they can be left undisturbed from year to year.

Daffodils are easily adaptable to the rock garden, perennial border, shrubbery border and the informal path garden; their special charm is revealed when they are broadcast in drifts in naturalized fashion.

Hyacinths can be used formally in bed or border to carry out symmetrical designs and in small groups.

Tulips are unsurpassed for balanced color arrangements in special gardens and for grouping in the mixed flower or shrubbery border, and in the case of those wonderful species types, they are ideal for the rock garden.

All of these bulbs are so easy to grow because the embryo flower has been pre-formed by the bulb grower, leaving nature to do the rest. Nevertheless, they do respond to treatment and care.

Planting Smaller Fall Bulbs

The smaller bulbs do not require as deep planting:

  • Snowdrops
  • Crocus
  • Scilla sibirica
  • Chionodoxas

… need three inches; Scilla campanulata and grape hyacinths about four inches deep and the same distance apart.

Naturalizing Daffodils

Daffodils used for naturalizing can be scattered over a woodland area and planted five to seven inches deep where they fall. Usually wooded areas have a high humus content, and this will insure the proper amount of moisture to guarantee long life to the plantings.

Daffodils for the rock garden, or as individual clumps in foundation plantings, may be carefully placed out in pattern on the surface after the soil has been dug out to a depth of seven inches, then covered with the original topsoil. Daffodils do require ample supplies of water during the growing season.

The same procedure may be followed for hyacinths which also require a thoroughly drained soil. In colder regions it is wise to mulch after the soil has become frozen.

Video: Fall Planting Bulbs

Species, or rock garden tulips, should be planted with the aid of a trowel. A dibble is not advisable as it may leave pockets below the base of the bulb. Other types of tulips can be planted with a trowel for small groups.

In larger beds or borders, the top six to eight inches should be removed and set to one side. Bone-meal or other decayed manure can be sprinkled over the leveled surface. The bulbs should then be set in pattern from five to six inches apart and covered with the original topsoil.

If tulips were grown in the same area a previous year it will be a precaution if fresh soil is used for covering.

Bulbs can be planted until frost hardens the ground. Too often gardeners delay until too late and thus lose the opportunity until another year. If you wish to add the extraordinary color that only bulbs can bring, plan to plant your garden pictures early in the Fall.

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