flower bulbs laying in mulch

Planting Fall Bulbs: What to Know and Expect

With the cold weather starting to present itself, it seems like a strange time to be thinking about spring flowers! However, fall is the ideal time to plant those flower bulbs and give them a great jump-start for next spring. The folks at Hively Landscaping wanted to bring you some tips and tricks for maximizing your beautiful flowers in the springtime by preparing right now.

Invest in Quality Bulbs

Planting high-quality bulbs in the fall is an easy way to kickstart your spring flowers. While the bargain bulbs look enticing, they are often the weaker, smaller bulbs that either won’t flower come springtime, or will look rather pitiful next to your other blooms.

When choosing bulbs, look for a large size and firm texture. Small, mushy bulbs often yield small, weak flowers, or even none at all. You’ll pay more for good quality bulbs, but they are much more likely to come up strong in the springtime and flower more than the cheaper bulbs.

Plant at the Right Time

Generally speaking, bulbs should be planted about 6-8 weeks before the first frost of the season. The ground should be cool, but not frozen; think evening temperatures around 40˚-50˚F. If necessary, bulbs can be stored for about a month, but planting immediately will yield the best results.

When it comes time to plant, bulbs can go anywhere in your garden so long as the soil drains well. Bulbs don’t like standing water; it can cause mold and potentially damage the potential of the bulb. Spring bulb also love sunlight, so try to aim for a place where they will receive plenty of warm sun to kick off their growing.

Plant the Right Flowers

Certain flower bulbs are better planted in the fall than others. Below is a list of flowers that excel come springtime when planted in the fall:

  • Daffodils
  • Jonquils
  • Crocus
  • Snowdrop (Galanthus)
  • Hyacinth
  • Tulips
  • Irises
  • Gladiolus

These flower varieties are all hardy and easy to grow; the frost will not affect the bulbs once they are planted, and no matter how long or cold the winter becomes, the bulbs will almost always produce full, flowered plants come spring.

Planting bulbs in the fall seems counterintuitive at first, but in reality, it creates a stronger root system for the plants to thrive come spring. Fertilizing the bulbs in the spring is also imperative; once the first shoots appear, that’s the indication that the roots have sprouted and are ready for nutrients. There’s no need to fertilize when they are planted in the fall, as the bulbs will go dormant until springtime anyway.

We love to see a strong, beautiful flower bed in the springtime! If you need help deciding which flowers are right for you area, or you would rather leave the planting to the professionals, give Hively a call at 717-292-5696 and we would be happy to help!