Bulbs and Rhizomes to Plant in the Fall

In the Garden Sue Sep 19, 2023
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Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase.  

Planting for Spring Splendor: A Guide to Fall Bulb Selection

Fall is the perfect time to plant bulbs that will burst forth with vibrant blooms when winter's chill finally gives way to warmer weather.

In this blog, we'll explore the world of fall bulbs, offering insights into what bulbs to plant in the fall for a breathtaking spring garden.

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Why Plant Bulbs in the Fall?

Generally, if the flower blooms in the Spring, then plant the bulb in the Fall. If the flower blooms in the Fall, then plant it in the Spring.

1. **Cool Soil Conditions:** Fall offers the perfect conditions for bulb planting. The soil is still warm from the summer sun but starting to cool down, which encourages root development without the stress of extreme temperatures.

2. **Established Roots:** Planting in the fall allows bulbs to establish strong root systems before winter, ensuring they are well-nourished and ready to bloom when spring arrives.

3. **Reduced Competition:** Most annual plants are starting to fade away in the fall, reducing competition for water, nutrients, and sunlight.

Planting flower bulbs is a simple and inexpensive way to add splashes of color to your garden.

What Bulbs to Plant in Fall?

**1. Tulips (Tulipa spp.)**

Tulips are perhaps the most iconic spring bulbs. They come in a wide range of colors and varieties, from classic single-flowered types to exotic parrot tulips. When planting tulips, consider factors like bloom time, height, and color to create a visually striking display.

- *Planting Depth:* 6-8 inches

- *Spacing:* 4-6 inches apart

- *Bloom Time:* Early to late spring

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**2. Daffodils (Narcissus spp.)**

Daffodils, also known as narcissus or jonquils, are renowned for their cheerful yellow blooms and trumpet-shaped flowers. They are low-maintenance and deer-resistant, making them a favorite among gardeners.

- *Planting Depth:* 4-6 inches

- *Spacing:* 3-6 inches apart

- *Bloom Time:* Early to mid-spring

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**3. Crocuses (Crocus spp.)**

Crocuses are some of the earliest spring bloomers, often appearing through the snow. They come in various colors and are perfect for naturalizing in lawns or planting in clusters.

- *Planting Depth:* 2-3 inches

- *Spacing:* 2-4 inches apart

- *Bloom Time:* Early spring

Crocus Bulbs - Rainbow Mix - 50 Bulbs, Mix... Crocus bulbs are usually the very first of fall-planted flowers to appear as spring arr... [More]

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**4. Hyacinths (Hyacinthus spp.)**

Known for their sweet fragrance and vibrant clusters of flowers, hyacinths are a fragrant addition to any spring garden. They come in an array of colors and are perfect for borders and containers.

- *Planting Depth:* 4-6 inches

- *Spacing:* 4-6 inches apart

- *Bloom Time:* Mid to late spring

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**5. Alliums (Allium spp.)**

Alliums, or ornamental onions, are unique and eye-catching bulbs that add architectural interest to the garden. Their globe-shaped flower heads can be large and dramatic.

- *Planting Depth:* 6-8 inches

- *Spacing:* 6-12 inches apart

- *Bloom Time:* Late spring to early summer

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**6. Snowdrops (Galanthus spp.)**

Snowdrops are petite, delicate bulbs that often bloom while there is still snow on the ground, symbolizing the arrival of spring. They are excellent for naturalizing in woodland gardens.

- *Planting Depth:* 2-3 inches

- *Spacing:* 2-3 inches apart

- *Bloom Time:* Early spring

**7. Scilla (Scilla spp.)**

Scilla, or Siberian squill, is a low-growing bulb that produces small, star-shaped flowers in shades of blue and purple. They are ideal for naturalizing in lawns and under trees.

- *Planting Depth:* 3-4 inches

- *Spacing:* 2-4 inches apart

- *Bloom Time:* Early spring

**8. Glory-of-the-Snow (Chionodoxa spp.)**

Another early bloomer, glory-of-the-snow, is known for its charming, star-shaped flowers that appear in shades of blue, pink, or white. These bulbs naturalize well and create a carpet of color.

- *Planting Depth:* 2-3 inches

- *Spacing:* 2-3 inches apart

- *Bloom Time:* Early spring

What Rhizomes to Plant in Fall?

While bulbs are the most common type of spring-flowering plants, rhizomes are another excellent option for fall planting. Rhizomes are horizontal underground stems that store nutrients and produce new shoots.

Here are some rhizomes to consider planting in the fall:

1. **Bearded Iris (Iris germanica):** Bearded irises are renowned for their elegant and colorful blooms. Plant rhizomes just below the soil surface and allow them to receive full sun.

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2. **Canna Lily (Canna spp.):** Cannas produce striking, tropical-like foliage and vibrant flowers. Plant rhizomes in well-drained soil with full sun.

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Price: $26.95

EdenBrothers.com is an online company that offers one of the largest seed and flower bulb assortment available in the United States.

When to Plant Fall Bulbs?

The ideal time to plant fall bulbs is typically between late September and early November, depending on your local climate. Planting during this period allows the bulbs to establish roots before winter sets in. In regions with mild winters, you can plant bulbs later into November, while in colder climates, it's best to plant them earlier in September.

Here are some average times to plant in your Zone:

  • September to October — Zones 4 and 5

  • October to early November — Zones 6 and 7

  • November to early December — Zones 8 and 9

  • Late December to early January — Zone 10

Planting flower bulbs is a simple and inexpensive way to add splashes of color to your garden.

How to Plant Fall Bulbs?

Planting fall bulbs is a straightforward process, but a few tips can help ensure success:

1. **Choose a Suitable Location:** Select a well-drained location that receives adequate sunlight for the type of bulbs you're planting. Most bulbs prefer full sun to partial shade.

2. **Prepare the Soil:** Ensure the soil is well-drained and enriched with organic matter. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, consider adding compost to improve drainage.

3. **Planting Depth:** Plant bulbs at the recommended depth for each type (as mentioned in the previous section). Use a trowel or bulb planter to dig individual holes or prepare a larger area for mass planting.

4. **Spacing:** Space bulbs according to the recommendations for each variety to allow for proper growth and air circulation.

5. **Positioning:** Place the bulbs with the pointed end (or shoot) facing upward. This ensures that the emerging shoots will grow in the right direction.

6. **Watering:** After planting, water the area thoroughly to help settle the soil and initiate root growth. Continue to water as needed, especially during dry spells in the fall.

7. **Mulch:** Applying a layer of mulch (such as straw or shredded leaves) over the planted area can help regulate soil temperature and conserve moisture.

Save on Seeds

EdenBrothers.com is an online company that offers one of the largest seed and flower bulb assortment available in the United States.

**Bulb Care**

Taking care of your fall-planted bulbs during the growing season is essential to ensure they thrive and produce beautiful blooms in the spring:

1. **Fertilization:** In the spring, as soon as you see the first shoots emerging, you can apply a balanced, slow-release bulb fertilizer to provide essential nutrients for growth and flowering.

2. **Watering:** Maintain consistent moisture throughout the growing season. Bulbs generally need about 1 inch of water per week, either from rainfall or supplemental irrigation.

3. **Deadheading:** After the bulbs have finished blooming, remove the spent flowers to prevent seed formation. This allows the plant to focus its energy on storing nutrients for the next season.

4. **Leaves:** Allow the foliage to die back naturally. The leaves are essential for photosynthesis, which replenishes the bulb for the next year's growth. Once the foliage turns yellow and begins to wither, it can be gently removed.

5. **Pest and Disease Control:** Keep an eye out for common bulb pests like squirrels and voles, as well as diseases like botrytis. Protective measures, such as bulb cages or planting bulbs with daffodils (which deter rodents), can help.

When Do Flower Bulbs Bloom?

Well look no further, I have researched all the common bulbs for the Planting Zones of 6-8 and put together a great reference for you. Use my charts to create a masterpiece of blooms for years to enjoy.

Bloom Chart 1

Bloom chart 2

Planting flower bulbs is a simple and inexpensive way to add splashes of color to your garden.

In conclusion, fall is the perfect time to plant bulbs and rhizomes that will transform your garden into a vibrant spring masterpiece. By following proper planting and care techniques, you can look forward to a stunning display of colors and blooms when spring arrives. So, embrace the fall season as an opportunity to prepare for the beauty that will grace your garden in the months to come.

Happy gardening!

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Happy Gardening!


Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase.