Fall-planted bulbs bring color and life to your spring garden. Whether its tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, or allium, the little amount of work it takes to plant them in the fall is well worth the stunning show they put on in early spring. We are frequently asked for tips on planting in the fall, and thought that we could share some of our best tricks with you.
Plant the pointy end up. That's about all you need to know. It's easy to spot the pointy end of a tulip; tougher with a crocus. In most cases, even if you can’t figure it out, plant the bulb sideways and it will still find its way topside. Plant big bulbs about 8" deep and small bulbs about 5" deep.
No fertilizer is necessary for the first year's bloom. Fall-planted bulbs are natural storehouses of food. They don't need anything to flower the first year. For bulbs that are intended to naturalize or perennialize (return for several years) or for bulbs that are coming into their second year, spread an organic fertilizer such as compost or well-rotted cow manure, or a slow release bulb food on top of the soil.
If you do fertilize, never mix fertilizer in the planting hole. It can burn the roots. Also don't follow the old adage of adding bone meal. Modern bone meal adds little nutritional value. It can also encourage pests and even dogs to dig up your fall-planted bulbs looking for bones!
Plant bulbs in clusters. Don't plant one bulb alone, or make a long thin line along the walk. Clusters give a concentration of color for greatest impact. Even if you don't have enough fall-planted bulbs for a big bed, small clusters can make a super spring show.
Plant low bulbs in front of high. This is a good general rule for bulbs that bloom at the same time. Our website will give you the height of the plant and it's approximate flowering time. Of course there are times to break this rule. For example if the low growing bulbs bloom early and the tall bulbs bloom late, plant the tall in front. Their display will camouflage the dying foliage of the smaller bulbs!
Try any fall-planted bulb now for spring blooms. All of our bulbs are guaranteed to grow and are sure to create a stunning show in your garden come spring.
To read all about planting bulbs in the fall, read our article “How to Plant Fall Flower Bulbs.”
As always, Happy (Fall) Gardening!