When to Plant Flower Bulbs: Central & Great Plains
Region "K" — Central & Great Plains
Optimum Planting Time:
September 30th - November 30th
USDA Hardiness Zones:
Your climate can experience cold winters and hot summers with occasional extreme temperature variations and moderate moisture. With a little care, conditions are great for a wide variety of hardy spring-flowering bulbs.
Plant bulbs in the fall, starting when nighttime temperatures stay between 40-50°F. But be sure to plant approximately six weeks before the ground freezes to allow sufficient time for rooting. Bulbs will root best in cool soil and once rooted undergo natural changes that keep them from freezing. Water your bulbs after planting to help them start the rooting process.
After planting, apply slow release "bulb food" fertilizer on the top of the ground to supply nutrients for the second year's bloom. (Fall bulbs are already fully charged with energy for peak flowering performance in their first spring bloom season.) Do not put the fertilizer in the hole with the bulb as this may burn the bulb's tender roots.
Please note: Modern bone meal often draws rodents and dogs that dig up the bulbs looking for bones!
After the ground cools or freezes, cover your bulb beds with a lightweight mulch (pine needles, buckwheat hulls, straw or chopped up leaves) 2-4 inches thick to help keep down weeds and maintain a consistently cool soil temperature.
A Sampling of Flower Bulbs for Perennializing (Return for Several Years):
- Most Narcissus (Daffodils): Dutchmaster, Jetfire, Thalia, and Cheerfulness
- All Darwin Hybrid Tulips: Grand Mixture, Pink Impression, Red Oxford, Golden Oxford
- All Hyacinth Bulbs: Blue Jacket, Jan Bos, and Grape Hyacinth
A Sampling of Bulbs for Naturalizing (Return & Multiply):
- Most Narcissus (Daffodils): Tete-a-Tete, Ice Follies, The Poet's Daffodil, and Mount Hood
- All Emperor Tulips: Red and White
- All Wild Tulips: Lilac Wonder and Wildflower Mix