Planting bulbs in the fall is honestly not one of my favorite gardening tasks, and I’m usually out there cursing myself for buying so many. BUT, come spring I’m so happy I went to all the trouble. After a long Minnesota winter, there’s nothing I like better than to see those bits of green popping up through the soil, and then the resulting bright and cheery flowers.
When I see these displays in the garden centers, I tend to go a little overboard.
These are some of the bulbs that I will be planting this fall: daffodils, tulips, grape hyacinth, glory-of-the-snow, allium, crocus, wood hyacinth, fritillaria, lilies, hyacinth and anemone. I also have a bunch more coming that I ordered online, including both Asiatic lilies and Oriental lilies, plus some others that I’ve forgotten. Yep, I’ll be cursing myself when I have to plant all these.
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My Amazon Bulb picks:
Tips for Planting Bulbs
- Make sure the temps are below 60 before you plant bulbs, but before the ground freezes. Last year, I got in a hurry and planted bulbs to soon and they started coming up a few weeks later when we got a warm spell. This spring when they were supposed to come up, they did not. Fortunately, I had ordered from a reputable company and they replaced the bulbs.
- There are so many bulb planting gadgets, but I think I have the perfect shovel for planting bulbs. I did break down this year when I happened upon a great sale on this gadget and bought one. Below is the video where I compare the bulb auger to a shovel. Even after I made the video, I continued to use the bulb auger and the more I used it, the more I liked it. It worked wonderfully in compacted, dry soil, but not as well in soil that was moist. I used the bulb auger more like a miniature rototiller to loosen up the soil, instead of making individual holes. I will definitely use it again both for planting bulbs and for planting.
- Plant bulbs close to other perennials (like daylilies or hostas) that come up later, so their foliage will cover the dying foliage of the bulb after they are done flowering.
- Planting bulbs in mounds or groups is so much more aesthetically pleasing than planting them in rows. I never plant bulbs 3 inches apart or whatever the instructions say. We’re talking flowers here, not soldiers.
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Easy Steps for Planting Bulbs
- First, rake back the mulch from the area where you want to plant your bulbs.
- Next, I dig a hole as deep as the instructions on the package call for (typically 2-3 times the size of the bulb) and big enough to hold anywhere from 8 – 12 bulbs.
- If the soil isn’t the greatest, I will add in some compost.
- Add in some bulb fertilizer. I believe this makes a huge difference in the overall quality and quantity of the flowers the bulb produces.
- Next, I dump in the bulbs. I space the bulbs out a bit leaving a little room in between and make sure the bulbs are turned right side up. If I’m planting different colors or different varieties, I will alternate the respective bulbs.
- Last, I fill the hole back up, pack it down and spread the mulch back over it.
How to Keep Squirrels and other Critters From Eating Your Bulbs
So far, knock-on-wood, I haven’t had a problem with critters digging up my bulbs and/or eating them. If you do, here are a few things you can try:
- There are granular products you can buy that supposedly repel the critters.
- Spread chicken wire over the area where you’ve planted bulbs and then cover it with mulch. When the bulbs start sprouting in the spring, the chicken wire can be removed.
- I’ve also seen where gardeners will fashion a cage made out of chicken wire and bury the bulbs in it.
- Try planting daffodils in the same hole as my tulips because critters don’t like daffodil bulbs. They also will not mess with fritillaria bulbs or allium bulbs. They’re both pretty stinky.
- Be sure to recover any freshly planted areas with mulch. If squirrels see an area that looks freshly dug, they be all over it.
The Results of Planting Bulbs in the Fall – Amazing Spring Flowers
The after, or the results of a few minutes (or a few hours in my case) of taking the time to plant bulbs in the fall is amazing spring flowers. Come spring you’ll be so happy you took the time to plant bulbs in the fall. These were my favorite tulips this spring.
More glorious tulips. Look at the inside of these – God’s amazing paintbrush!
I love the combination of these bright yellow daffodils and the grape hyacinths.
This combination of Tulips and Grape Hyacinths from my sister’s gardens in Colorado is another gorgeous color combinations.
I tried to keep these instructions pretty simple, so anyone could follow them. Those of you that have never planted bulbs in the fall, I would encourage you to give it a try this year. Start with something easy like daffodils and don’t go overboard like I do.
What to Do When Spring Bulbs Finish Blooming
For tips and instructions on what to do with the foliage of bulb plants after they have finished blooming, this article has some good information. Or, better yet this You Tube video from the University of Illinois, gives excellent instruction on what to do with the foliage of spring bulb flowers that are finished blooming.
Here are some other Fall Gardening posts you might enjoy:
Fall is the best time to plan next year’s Gardens!
DIY Garden Journal
Thanks so much for stopping by Gingham Gardens! I hope you enjoyed these tips for planting bulbs. What bulbs are you going to plant this fall? Leave a comment and let me know. Or, if you have questions about planting bulbs, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.
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