Fall Planting Tips for Beautiful Spring Blooms

Crocus flowers pushing up through fall leaves

Fall Planting Tips for Beautiful Spring Blooms

Fall means pumpkin spice and sweater weather… and time to plant bulbs for spring blooms! You can spend a few minutes planting tulips, daffodils and hyacinths to create beautiful pockets of color in your spring garden. Look for packages of bulbs at your local garden center, hardware store or online.

Tulips are beloved around the world for their bright flowers that come in a rainbow of colors. They can bloom from mid-April to the end of May and can be ruffled, double-petaled, two-toned, and striped. Tulips are best grown for one season as the flower size diminishes each year. Beware of deer though– they LOVE to eat tulips! Daffodils are a super-tough, carefree perennial bulb that deer and other animals completely ignore. Bloom times range from the end of February to the beginning of May. Plant daffodils where they can grow for years to come. Their blooms are typically yellow and white, but some varieties can be orange or even pink! If you are looking for fragrance, why not try hyacinths? These beauties come in shades of purple, pink, white, and yellow and their intoxicating perfume is a true joy of springtime.

Don’t overlook the tiny varieties of plants known as minor bulbs. These include crocus, which bloom in those early weeks of spring when you are thirsting for something colorful, sometimes even coming up through the snow! Other minor bulbs worth trying are grape hyacinths, snowdrops, winter aconite, and squill. They make the biggest impact when used in mass plantings.

Planting bulbs is easy! Most varieties will be happy in any spot in your garden that isn’t constantly wet. Simply use a garden trowel to dig a hole about 4-6″ deep and drop in a bulb, pointy side up. The bulb itself contains the whole plant– leaves, stems and flowers, so fertilizing isn’t necessary. Planting bulbs next to existing perennials such as hostas gives the perfect camouflage to hide the bulb’s leaves as they die back after blooming. If you do decide to cut back your bulb foliage, wait until it is completely brown to give the plants time to store up all the energy they need to bloom again next year.

A general rule of thumb when deciding how many bulbs to plant is five bulbs per square foot for tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Nine bulbs per square foot makes a nice display of minor bulbs. Don’t be alarmed if you see your bulbs starting to sprout throughout winter. This frequently happens with our crazy Cincinnati winters, and it never seems to hurt the flowers at all.