When to Plant Fall Flower Bulbs: South Central
Region "G" — South Central
Optimum Planting Time:
October 15th - December 15th
USDA Hardiness Zones:
Your moderate climate with its mildly cold winters and hot, humid summers suits most spring-flowering bulbs except for those that have longer cold requirements and drier summer dormancy.
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 number of bulbs do naturalize in this climate. Many heirloom or 'pass along' bulbs are found around old homes and cemeteries. Some tropical, semi-tender bulbs winter-over here with proper micro-climate placement and a mulch blanket.
A Sampling of Flower Bulbs for Perennializing (Return for Several Years):
- Most Narcissus (Daffodils): Dutchmaster, Jetfire, Thalia, and Cheerfulness
- All Darwin Hybrid Tulips: Grand Mix, Pink Impression, Red Oxford, and Golden Oxford
A Sampling of Bulbs for Naturalizing (Return & Multiply):
Other Fall-Planted Bulbs for Zones 7-8
- Ipheion uniflorum (Starflowers)