Planting Fall Bulbs

By: Karen Roe  CC BY 2.0

By: Karen Roe
CC BY 2.0

Spring is just around the corner.  Really!  Here at Bob’s we have baby, thumb-sized ferns that will be massive hanging baskets in 8 months.  When the snow starts flying, we will be busy growing flowers for spring.  Right now you can plant crops for spring too.  Now is the time to plant bulbs for a splash of spring color.

Bulbs can be planted as soon as the ground is cool.  They can be planted when evening temperatures average 40 to 50 degrees.  You should plant a few weeks before the ground freezes.

You can plant bulbs just about anywhere as long as the soil drains well.  The Dutch, the master bulb growers of the world, say bulbs don’t like wet feet, so avoid areas where water tends to collect.  Bulbs like full sun, but keep in mind that there won’t be leaves on trees in the spring.  Areas normally in a tree’s shade are in full sun in the early spring.  This gives you even more planting options!

Loosen the soil in planting beds to a depth of at least 8 inches.  Remove weeds, and mix in some compost for good measure.  Plant the bulbs to the depth on the package directions.  As a general rule, larger bulbs are planted deeper and smaller bulbs shallower.  Once planted, cover with soil and gently pack.  Then finish up with some water to stimulate root growth.

By: Andreas  CC BY-SA 2.0

By: Andreas
CC BY-SA 2.0

In the spring fertilize bulbs that are intended to naturalize (return each year) or bulbs that are coming into their second year.  Use an organic fertilizer such as compost or a slow release fertilizer.  Apply it around the base of the plants.

When the flowers have completed blooming, cut the flower heads off, but do not cut back the foliage.  Bulbs will use the foliage to gather nutrients via photosynthesis for the following seasons.  Once the foliage dies back it can be cut back to ground level.

Help put your landscape to bed this fall by cleaning out summer annuals and planting bulbs.  Sit back this winter, take a well-deserved break, and wait.  When spring comes you’ll be greeted by a beautiful splash of color.


Header Image: Hyacinth
By: Yoko Nekonomania
CC BY 2.0