Planting fall bulbs for spring blooming flowers reminds us that the garden teaches us about patience, a little about faith and much about the rewards of our labor.
This is never more true than when the bounty of summer blooms have passed and we are faced with the onset of colder temperatures and the harsh reality of the dormant winter. We’ll survive the next 6 months mentally collecting new species and dreaming of laying our hands to the warm earth once again.
Gardeners who have the foresight to envision the first blooms of spring are preparing now for the promise of the next season. With a little planning, your last act in the garden this year can make yours the prettiest garden on the block next spring.
With soil temperatures beginning to cool, now is the ideal time to plant spring blooming bulbs. While you can technically plant until you can no longer dig in the ground, your bulbs will do best if planted about 6 weeks before the ground freezes – long enough to take hold before going dormant, but not enough time to avoid premature sprouts.
Alliums come in many varieties and sizes that can reach 2-3′ tall with great round blooms up to 60-90 cm. Taller varieties are usually purple with the largest flower and smaller species can be found in shades of white, pink, lavender and green. Their unique form packs the perfect punch of drama among perennials from May to July. Alliums like full sun and with adequate space, they will naturalize and multiply.
Crocus this brave little flower is one of our favorites because it dares to be the first to force through the snow and announce spring’s arrival! You’ll find crocus bulbs available for blooms in variations of blue and purple, yellow and white. Since they only grow 3-5″, crocus make more of a statement when planted to carpet a lawn, or massed in large groups at the front of flower beds.
Daffodils are the spirit of spring! Their shape reminds us of bright little faces turning toward the sun. Daffodil bulbs are best planted in small naturalized clusters in a full or partial sun area or massed in a large sunny location. They grow quickly and will multiply.
Garlic is not a fall bulb that we plant for spring blooms, in fact we recommend removing any flowers in the spring to encourage bigger bulbs, but it is one we plant to enjoy its healthy and delicious properties all summer long! Don’t plant cloves of grocery store garlic, it may not be suitable for this zone and has likely been treated to prolong shelf life which can inhibit growth, but DO make sure garlic bulbs are on your fall planting list – you will be so glad you did!
Hyacinth are best known for the traditional variety of “grape” color and appearance, but these tend to spread quickly and can easily become invasive. Today, hyacinth bulbs are now available in less aggressive varieties in white and all sorts of pink, blue, purple, and yellow hues. They are among the first bloomers each spring and are usually quite abundant and popular around the Easter holiday.
Tulips have to be the all time favorite spring blooming flower. Perhaps it is because they are traditional, but we like tulips for their endless variety and the rainbow of color options to suit any garden scheme or plan. Tulip heights range from 6″ to 2′ and they will do well in full sun to light shade, but be sure that the taller varieties will have shelter from the wind.
For the best show, plant your bulbs in groupings of a dozen or more, keeping like kinds and colors together. As a general rule, bulbs are planted with the point up, but follow the tag instructions and note the space and depth requirements for each.
For bulbs that bloom at the same time, plant low bulbs in front of tall bulbs. For sequential bloom times, try staggering your plantings by bloom time to create a bed or border that will blossom in succession to fill the area with color and interest all season long.
If you have questions about soil preparation for planting bulbs, bulb spacing and depth, or how to plan your fall bulb arrangement, stop by to see us at the Garden Center – our experts can help! We currently have beautiful premium bulbs in stock for all the spring blooming flowers mentioned here.
Paperwhites forcing paperwhite bulbs indoors is a perfect way to satisfy your gardening soul during the depths of winter. We have paperwhite narcissus bulbs in stock now and we can show you how to grow them in a gravel mix or directly in water.
My Pro Tip!
Paperwhites are a popular holiday flower, they make a lovely gift,
and planting paperwhites is a fun winter nature project to do with the kids!
See you at the garden center!
Have questions or need expert plant advice? Ask Jeffrey!