In this post: Best Bulbs for Fall Planting. Five favorites to plant in the fall months for spring and summer blooms. Includes tips and advice from a DIY gardener.
In order to enjoy garden blooms in the spring, you have to do a little work in the fall and plant some bulbs. Even a beginner gardener can do this easy task. All you need is a shovel (or a bulb planter,) flower bulbs, and a lovely autumn afternoon. Here are some tips for planting bulbs in the fall.
- If you are planting a variety of bulbs, make sure to keep the labels with the bulbs so you know what you are planting. Bulbs vary by size and shape but are very easy to mix up. Take it from someone who got her bulbs mixed up…keep them in order!
- In zones 1 – 7, plant your bulbs as soon as temps dip to about 50 degrees F at night. That way you know the ground is cool and ready. In zones 8 – 11, bulbs will need to be pre-chilled in a refrigerator for about 6 weeks before planting. You can also purchase pre-chilled bulbs. Plant during the coolest time of year.
- Plant bulbs in well-drained soil. Most bulbs bloom in early to mid-spring before the leaves appear on the trees. This allows you to plant almost anywhere, even areas that are shaded in summer.
- Bigger bulbs should be planted about 8 inches deep and smaller bulbs about 5 inches deep. Make sure to set the bulb down into the hole with the pointy side up.
- Group several bulbs together when planting. This will give your landscape design more depth since the flowers will appear as clusters and make more of a statement.
Best Bulbs for Fall Planting: Five Favorites
Anemone blanda (common name Windflower)
With blooms that resemble daisies, these delicate flowers grow up to six inches tall and don’t require much water. Anemones make great ground cover and will naturalize beautifully in good garden soil. Bulb depth is only about two inches so there isn’t much digging, which is always a good thing!
Anemone blanda bulbs producer the loveliest periwinkle blooms with yellow centers and thrive in zones 5 to 10. They are resistant to deer and can take a little shade.
I am obsessed with allium right now. Believe it or not, allium is a member of the same genus that includes garlic, onions and chives. Some varieties grow up to 3 feet tall. The ‘Gladiator’ bloom is a soft pinkish lilac color and spans about five inches wide. Plant both spring and summer varieties for months of color in your garden. If you have a problem with deer, this is the plant for you. They are deer-tolerant, make a lovely cut flower and even attract some birds.
My neighbor has the most amazing allium, so I ordered 15 bulbs and just need to find a few minutes to get them in the ground. I’m hoping for some show-stopping blooms next summer.
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Tulip ‘Pink Impression’
Picking a favorite tulip is not the easiest thing to do. There are SO many to choose from. One of the prettiest ones by far is the Pink Impression Tulip. It was introduced in the late 1970’s so it’s been around for a while. If left uncut, it is a true perennial. However, that’s hard to do because the beautiful, big blooms sit atop strong, tall stems and make lovely cut flowers. This tulip is easy to grow in well-drained soil and blooms in mid-spring.
Grape Hyacinths are easy to care for bulbs that multiply and spread easily. They have a lovely scent and bloom in early spring. Growing from 6 to 12 inches tall, they make a great border and are the perfect height to be planted in front of tulips or alliums. Grape hyacinths have been known to show up through an early-spring layer of snow.
Trumpet or large-cup daffodils are reliable bloomers and multiply each year. One of the reasons they spread so nicely is because deer and rabbits don’t like them. The blooms are left to fade and as they die down, the bulbs are re-energized for the next growing season. The “cup” in the middle, or trumpet, is longer than the actual petal. This show-stopping flower has one bloom per stem.