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When to Plant Fall Flower Bulbs: Appalachian Region

Region "C" — Appalachian Region

Optimum Planting Time:

September 15th - November 30th

USDA Hardiness Zones:

5, 6

You have a moderate to cold winter climate and mild summers with adequate moisture. The variety of elevations in your region offers many opportunities for different planting styles.

General Instructions:

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. Flower 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's tender roots.

Please note: Modern bone meal generally has little value as a bulb fertilizer and often draws rodents and dogs that dig up the bulbs looking for bones!

After the ground cools or freezes, cover your 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.

Special Note: The opportunity to plant on banks and hillsides offers many creative possibilities for designs and artistic combinations. Mulching in this climate may be important to protect new bulb foliage from late spring frosts.

A Sampling of Flower Bulbs for Perennializing (Return for Several Years):

A Sampling of Bulbs for Naturalizing (Return & Multiply):

Other Fall-Planted Bulbs for Zones 5-6

Shop for Fall Bulbs