Fall Bulb Planting Now for Spring Beauty
by Melinda Myers, horticulturist and gardening expert
Don’t miss a chance to color up your spring landscape. Get busy now planting spring flowering bulbs like daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths.
Bulb Landscape Desgin
Look for creative ways to use bulbs in your landscape. Plant a massive ribbon of blue squills or grape hyacinths to create the illusion of a river in your spring landscape. Or fill the front lawn with shorter bulbs for added color. Just wait until they are done blooming to mow the grass at its highest possible setting.
Mix bulbs to double the bloom power or extend their flowering beauty. I like to mix the equally assertive daffodils and squills for a double layer of color. Try combining early blooming crocus with mid spring daffodils, late spring tulips, and even later blooming allium for months of enjoyment.
And force a few bulbs to enjoy indoors or outdoors in areas where you can’t plant bulbs in the ground. Give these bulbs 15 weeks of temperatures between 35 and 45 degrees to initiate bloom.
When to Plant Bulbs
Plant spring flowering bulbs outdoors in fall, so winter’s chill can set the flower buds for the beautiful spring flowers. Those gardening in the south need to look for bulbs that require minimal chilling or are pre-cooled for winter planting. Northern gardeners have until the ground freezes to get their bulbs in the ground.
Plant bulbs 2 to 3 times their vertical height deep in properly prepared soil. Add a low nitrogen slow-release fertilizer like Milorganite to the soil at planting. Water thoroughly as the bulbs are putting down roots before the ground freezes.
Those tired of battling the animals may want to plant resistant bulbs such as daffodils, hyacinths, Fritillaria, alliums, Camassia, glory-of-the snow, snow drops squills, and grape hyacinths.
Or protect animal favorites like tulips, lilies, and crocus by dipping them in an ecofriendly animal repellent bulb dip. Read and follow all instructions before use.
Then next spring apply an eco-friendly animal repellent to your bulbs and other landscape plants as soon as they emerge and leaf out, protecting them from hungry rabbits, deer, and other animals.
So get a jump on the spring season with a bit of fall landscape care.