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Fall-Planted Bulbs

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Fall-Planted Bulbs

“But,” you might be thinking, “It’s July. Why are we talking about fall-planted bulbs? I’m still harvesting tomatoes over here!” That’s because, dear friend, fall planting is right around the corner (closer than you think, trust us), and the time to pre-order your fall bulbs is now. 

Don’t let that freak you out. Just take a day when the weather outside is hot and humid, read this blog post, and then start planning your fall bulb order. Add a tall glass of iced tea (sweetened or unsweetened?) or a cocktail, and you’ve got a date to plan out your fall-blooming bulbs. Sounds like heaven to us!

Why Plant in the Fall, Anyway?

Fall is the traditional time to plant most types of plants, and flowering bulbs are no exception. Now, not every bulb likes to be planted in the fall (more on that in a few minutes), but many do, and here’s why:

  • If it’s a spring-blooming bulb, for the most part, it needs to be planted in the fall.
  • Fall planting gives flowering bulbs time to get established and get their roots growing so they can explode into healthy bloom next spring
  • Some bulbs need to be planted in the fall because they require a “chilling period” during the winter months in order to bloom at all. Tulips are a great example.

What Bulbs Like to Be Planted in the Fall?

Traditionally, fall-planted bulbs have been called Dutch bulbs, but there are many types of bulbs that you can plant in the autumn. These include:

Tulips              Daffodils

Hyacinth         Crocus

Allium              Scilla

Dutch Iris        Snowdrops

Freesia            Winter Aconite

Amaryllis         Siberian Iris

Gladiolus         Fritillaria

When and How Do I Plant Them?

  1. Time your planting. Aim for mid-to-late fall planting, typically after your first killing frost. As long as the ground is not frozen and can still be worked, you can safely plant them. If you forget and don’t get them planted until late winter, they may still grow but might not develop flowers.

  2. Do your own recon. Always refer to the individual plant’s growing requirements, but in general, spring-blooming bulbs enjoy full to part sun. Take this into account when you are planting.

  3. Remember containers! You can plant bulbs in containers in the fall for a lovely spring display, even layering different bulbs in the container for a prolonged and spectacular bloom.

  4. Dig your hole(s). Make sure the soil is loose, and plant the bulbs 2–3 times deeper than the height of the bulb. Confused? Here’s an example: A 2.5” tall tulip bulb should be planted 5–7” deep in the soil. 

  5. Plant the bulbs. Plant flat side of the bulb down, and the tapered end up. Can’t quite determine? Plant on their sides and they’ll figure it out. Bulbs are smart cookies.

  6. Water well. Water the bulbs after planting, and keep the soil around them moist over the winter and throughout the blooming season. Need more direction on watering your bulbs? Check out this blog post!

  7. Don’t fertilize after planting. 

  8. Get more info. Check out our Growing Guides for each of the bulbs you are planting. Every shipment from Easy to Grow Bulbs comes with planting instructions, but rest assured everything is on our website should that slip of paper go missing!

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  • Jenny Peterson