How to Plant Fall Flower Bulbs

March 9, 2014 – 10:30 pm

Planting bulbs IN THIS ARTICLE:

Shop for Fall Bulbs

The good news is that planting flower bulbs is fast, easy, and nearly foolproof. One reason fall bulbs are so beloved of both beginner and master gardeners is that, with so few issues to consider, gardeners can put all their effort into the fun part of gardening — design.

  • When the bulbs arrive. Bulbs should be planted as soon as the ground is cool. In most parts of the country, this would be around the time of the first frosts, when evening temperatures average between 40° to 50° F. But you should plant at least six weeks before the ground freezes. You can, if necessary, store bulbs for a month or longer, if you keep them in a cool dry place. When in doubt, however, the bulbs belong in the ground. They won't last till next season.
  • Read the label. Try to keep the label together with the bulbs until planting. Without the label, you can't tell the red tulips from the white ones just by looking at the bulbs.
  • Where to plant. You can plant bulbs just about anywhere in your garden — so long as the soil drains well. The Dutch say, "bulbs don't like wet feet." So, avoid areas where water collects, such as the bottom of hills. Bulbs also like sun. But the spring garden is very sunny — the leaves aren't on the trees yet. Get creative!
  • Prepare the planting bed by digging the soil so it's loose and workable. If it's not an established garden bed, chances are the soil could use the addition of some organic matter such as compost or peat moss. These are available at most local garden retailers.

Tips for Planting Bulbs

  • Plant the pointy end up. That's about all you need to know. It's easy to spot the pointy end of a tulip; tougher with a crocus. But in most cases, even if you don't get it right, the flower bulb will still find its way topside.
  • Plant big bulbs about 8" deep and small bulbs about 5" deep.
  • No fertilizer is necessary for the first year's bloom. Bulbs are natural storehouses of food. They don't need anything to flower the first year. For bulbs that are intended to naturalize or perennialize (return for several years) or for bulbs that are coming into their second year, spread an organic fertilizer such as compost or well-rotted cow manure, or a slow release bulb food on top of the soil.
  • If you do fertilize, never mix fertilizer in the planting hole. It can burn the roots. Also don't follow the old adage of adding bone meal. Modern bone meal adds little nutritional value. It can also encourage pests and even dogs to dig up your bulbs looking for bones!


Natures Note Organics Seeds and Bulbs Anemone Coronaria De Caen Holland Flower Bulbs
Lawn & Patio (Natures Note Organics Seeds and Bulbs)
  • Beautiful Color
  • Cut Flower
  • Bulb will naturalize and spread over the years
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When to plant flower bulbs for next Spring?

I'm going to my local nursery today to purchase bulbs for spring flowers. I know I am supposed to plant them in the Fall, and it is technically Fall now. However, the weather where I live in the North Bay Area is still hot (80s to 90s).
Should I wait until the days and nights are cooler before I plant them, or could I plant them today?

Bulbs were to be planted in the fall

Can I plant them now?
They are iris, lily, crocus, all flower bulbs.
Any ideas on how to plant them? I have sunny and part sunny areas near oak trees.
What kind of soil mix do they like? I've only made soil for vegies.
I hope they make more bulbs, so I can have big areas of flowers. They sent me a selection of like a dozen bulbs each kind.
Any advice is appreciated. I don't want to loose these bulbs.

Gardens of the Blue Ridge. Wild Flowers, Hardy Trees, Shrubs, Plants and Bulbs for Fall and Spring Planting 1969-1970
Book (E. C. Robbins)
Premium Large Perennial Mixed Dutch Iris Bulbs (20)
Lawn & Patio ()
  • Fall Planting
  • Mixed Colors
TotalGreen TotalGreen - Fall Planting Bulbs
Home Improvement (TotalGreen)
  • Seeds, Bulbs and Starting Trays
  • Bulbs & Plants
  • Flower Bulb

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