How to Plant Spring-Flowering Bulbs in the Fall

With the weather growing crisper by the day, who doesn’t want to dream about bold and beautiful bulbs bursting through the ground come springtime? Well, if you want gorgeous blossoms in April, it’s time to start planting right now.

Think big (numbers, that is)
Six or eight bulbs are not going to cut it; pick up at least 20 of each color from a reputable nursery or garden center to get the most bang for your buck.

Fat is where it’s at.
Generally, the heftier the bulb, the showier the bloom. If you’re ordering from a catalog, be sure to check what size you’re buying.

Timing is everything.
You should try to plant your bulbs soon after purchasing them, and at least six weeks before the ground freezes (usually when night temperatures are between 40 and 50 degrees), so that the bulbs can have enough time to establish their root systems. But don’t want to plant them too early or they’ll have time to sprout, which will deplete some of the energy stored in the bulb. Live in a colder northern climate? Plant up until the end of October. In warmer areas, wait until December.

Dig this.
Choose a spot with well-drained soil and plenty of sun. Work in some compost, and then plant your bulbs pointy part up at a depth of roughly three times the width of the bulb. (If you’re not sure which side is up, plant the bulb on its side; it will find its way to the surface!). Water thoroughly, then spread some mulch to keep in the moisture and deter weeds.

Feeding frenzy.
Bulbs that decline every year after your first plant them do so because they’ve used up the previous year’s energy, which they store in order to produce a flower. So use bulb-planting fertilizer to ensure lots of nutrients get into the root zone.

The right tools for the job.
Save your back! Instead of bending and stooping, use a specially designed bulb-planting tool, which allows you to work faster and with greater ease, especially if you have rocky or hard soil in your garden.

Worried about pests digging around?
Never mind the mothballs or cayenne pepper; check out The Garden Lady’s great tip for making sure Charlie Chipmunk doesn’t ruin all your hard work.


Photo Credit: Garden Weasel Bulb Planter

Photo Credit: sproutsprout67 via Compfight cc

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