Who’s thinking about spring in the fall? Savvy gardeners are. That’s because fall is the time to plant hardy bulbs that can survive in the ground during the winter so they’re ready to flower in spring.
The trick is to plant spring bulbs before the ground freezes (sadly, we’re almost too late in some parts of the country!). This gives bulbs enough time to establish roots. Choose large, firm bulbs (they’ll produce the most flowers) and weed out those bulbs that are soft, moldy, diseased, or damaged. Until you’re ready to plant, store your bulbs in a shady, ventilated spot so they stay dry.
Here are some more planting tips to get you started:
• Select the type of flower you’d like to plant.
• Pick a spot for your bulbs. Early spring bulbs can be planted under trees and shrubs because they bloom before trees or shrubs leaf out. But you’ll want to plant summer bulbs where they’ll get more sun.
• Make sure your soil is properly prepared for planting. Learn what to do.
• Plant the bulbs two to three times as deep as the bulb is tall. The roots of the bulb should face down. Plant teardrop-shape bulbs with the tips facing up. Plant flat bulbs with the flat side facing down. Not sure which side is more flat? Just plant it sideways!
• Water the bulbs as soon as they’re planted to promote rooting—but take care not to overwater.
Have questions about planting spring bulbs? P. Allen Smith probably has answers.
And if you haven’t thought about the fact that climate change is affecting your hardiness zone, now’s the time to take a look.
The Home Know-It-All