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When to Plant Fall Flower Bulbs: Rocky Mountains

Region "L" — Rocky Mountains

Optimum Planting Time:

September 15th — November 1st

USDA Hardiness Zones:

2, 3, 4

Your largely alpine environment with long cold winters and moderate summers make a good environment for hardy spring-flowering bulbs.

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 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: A very good area for growing bulbs according to Rocky Mountain authors/gardeners, Rob Proctor and Lauren Springer. They integrate lots of different kinds of bulbs into their myriad of colorful gardens in and around Denver.

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

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

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