Have you ever noticed that the best gardens aren’t planted from ‘instant color’ but are created by gardeners who think a season or two ahead? Bulbs offer us some of the most beautiful spring flowers of all, but to get a show-stopping display that will be the envy of less far-sighted gardeners, you have to get going in the fall. One of the top 10 questions we get from our gardeners is 'When should I plant my fall bulbs?' Luckily, getting your bulbs planted is quick and easy. You can get your garden all set for a fabulous spring in the matter of an afternoon. Read on to learn how to get your timing just right.
Autumn planting does the trick
September, October and November are the best months for planting most spring-flowering bulbs. For example, this is the time to get your irises, tulips, hyacinths and daffodils in! However, if you find a left-over packet of bulbs later than that, you should plant them immediately. You can still get away with planting until February, and remember that your bulbs won’t survive if you try to keep them until the following autumn.
As the nights grow cooler, think about spring
Ideally, your bulbs should be planted when the night-time temperatures are around 40-50 F. So if you live in one of the warmer states, you will be planting somewhat later than you would in the colder ones. You may even find that you’re planting as late as December.
The main issue with planting your bulbs while the temperatures are still too warm is that you will have more problems with root rot and fungi. If you wait until it’s too late, the ground may have frozen. Tulips don’t usually mind being planted in very cold ground, but not all your spring flowerers will thank you for the late start.
This said, bulbs are actually pretty tough. You can break almost all the ‘rules’ and still get a good show of flowers. However, planting at the right season does make a big difference. Plant at the right time of the year and you’ve got nearly sure-fire success as long as you plant in well-drained soil, so if monitoring evening temperatures doesn’t suit you, simply choose autumn and you should be fine.
Making sure you don’t forget!
If you’re worried about forgetting bulb planting time, use Thanksgiving as a milestone. Your bulbs should have been planted by then, but if it slipped your mind, Thanksgiving is not too late. The best strategy of all is to plant your bulbs as soon as you get them. If you’re using bulbs that you lifted and stored, you should check them periodically to ensure that they’re not rotting. Once they start to sprout, they should probably have been in already and it’s time to get moving!
Imagine your garden springing to life with oodles of the most vibrant color you can imagine. Gardening with bulbs is extremely rewarding and your friends will want to know your secret. If you’re feeling very kind, you can tell them about Thanksgiving and how spring really starts in fall, at least as far as your garden is concerned!