Fall: Bulb Planting Season
|Lawn and Yard Resources
Types of Flowers
Many of spring's colorful tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, irises and other early flowering garden favorites, bloom best when their bulbs are planted in fall.
Fall planting insures that the flower's root system becomes established prior to the bulb going dormant for the winter. Because most bulbs are bred to withstand a frozen ground, once the roots become established, the onset of spring signals the bulbs its time to shoot up and bloom.
While each flowering bulb generates its own specific planting instructions, a couple general planting rules of thumb apply for all bulbs.
- Choose a garden space suitable for at least one row or circle of flowers. Gardeners interested in planting multiple rows need to consider flower height. Placing taller flowers in the back row allows both the taller and shorter flowers display room. Most varieties of bulb flowers enjoy a sunny spot, however some afternoon or early morning shading is acceptable.
- In areas with already established bulbs, cutting back flowers and leaves allows the bulbs an opportunity to refresh themselves. Once planted, bulbs generally need little fertilizer their first year.
- Planting bulbs begins by digging some relatively deep holes, up to eight or nine inches depending on the size and type of bulb. Soil around the planted bulbs should be topsoil complete with adequate nutrients and drainage.
- Extend the fall bulb planting season to areas outside the traditional residential setting. Support local community volunteer projects that promote roadside bulb planting.
Daffodils (Narcissus), perhaps the most popular groups of perennial flowers, grow in temperate climates with minimal human effort.
Early spring blooms explains part of their appeal. Less known is the fact that daffodils also make decorative house plants. As such, they provide the gardener a choice of blooming seasons.
Quickly sketching the bulb forcing process to promote year round daffodil blooms starts with refrigerating bulbs in soil to replicate their winter resting and development cycle.
Once removed from refrigeration and placed in the house, bloom time normally follows within the month.
The Hoop Petticoat Daffodil (Narcissus bulbocodium) shown in picture two, adapts to many soils and climates. The picture highlights the plant's prominent yellow funnel shaped corona.
It's a bright alternative or compliment to the spring flower garden.
Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica), a native perennial of Europe, Asia and Africa, also blooms during cooler northern springs.
The large blue flowers provide contrast with the traditional spring yellow daffodils. Plants grow aggressively necessitating annual maintenance.
In most of the northern hemisphere, the bloom of the first crocus, even through the snow, represents a sure signal of beginning of spring in gardens around the world.
Depending on the species, a garden of crocus can bloom as early as February.
Spraxis, a less known flowering iris than the crocus, are South African native plants, hybridized to produce a multitude of colors.
Most varieties are planted as bulbs and flower during the spring. The flowers grow on a thin stem capable of producing multiple blooms.
© 2006-2012. Patricia A. Michaels