Tips on Planting Spring-Flowering Bulbs in the Fall
Just because the temperatures are cooler and the sun isn't out as much doesn't mean that you should stop gardening! If you want spring colour in your garden, late fall is the perfect time of the year to plant spring-flowering bulbs, like tulips, hyacinths and daffodils, which will give your garden an attractive display of colour without much effort. Fall is the best time to plant bulbs because they need time in the ground during the winter months to develop their roots before they can bloom.
In the fall, bulbs are readily available at your local garden center or nursery. Bulbs can also be purchased through an online catalogue. Just be sure to buy from a reputable company. If you have the option, choose healthy-looking, firm bulbs. Avoid bulbs that are dry or have soft spots, bruises or blemishes. The larger the bulb, the bigger the bloom!
Here are some tips for planting spring-flowering bulbs:
- Bulbs need to be planted before the ground freezes. Canadians will generally plant their bulbs from late September to late October. If you live in a warmer climate, you can wait until November.
- Like with any other garden plant, choose bulbs that would be hardy in your climate zone.
- Once you've purchased your bulbs, try to plant them immediately. If you cannot use them right away, store them in a cool, dry place.
- While there are some bulbs that can do well in partial shade, most bulbs prefer full sun. Choose an area in your garden that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.
- Remove any weeds and debris before planting your bulbs.
- Bulbs do not like wet feet, which can lead to root rot. Start with well-drained soil. Add some compost to add nutrients and improve drainage.
- Bulbs usually look best planted in clusters. There's no need to plant them neatly in rows.
- As a general rule of thumb, plant the bulbs at a depth of 3 times the height of the bulb. Add some bone meal to the bottom of the hole to encourage strong root growth.
- Plant the bulb with the pointy side facing up. If you are not sure which end to plant it, plant it on its side. The bulb will eventually find its way up.
- Cover planted bulbs with soil and water thoroughly. There's no need to water your bulbs after the initial planting.
- To keep squirrels and chipmunks away from your bulbs, cover soil with chicken wire. Weigh it down with some rocks.
And come spring, which is just a matter of months, your garden will be bursting with colour and life with those flowering bulbs! Enjoy those beautiful flowers!