How to Plant Fall Bulbs for Spring Blooms

Now is a great time to plant your fall flower bulbs for a dazzling spring display of color. If you live in cold winter zones (1-7), you can plant when the soil has cooled to at least 50°F and your ground is still workable. For areas with warmer winters (zones 8-11) you may not get enough cold temperatures for the bulbs to do well, so the bulbs can be placed in the refrigerator–but not by any fruit that may give off ethylene gas. Bulbs do not need more than about 11-15 weeks of chilling, and the good news is that we store our bulbs in a cooler until they have shipped out, so they have already chilled about 8 weeks! Plant your bulbs in areas that have good drainage, they will not do well sitting in soggy soil. They also like full sun, so since they bloom in the spring when many trees may have not leafed out, you can plant them almost anywhere in your yard!

Follow the planting instructions on the package, and make sure you plant pointy side up. Some bulbs are kind of hard to figure out what is the bottom, so if you can't tell, plant it sideways and the bulb will right itself. No need to fertilize at planting time for new bulbs, but come spring you should give them some quality bulb fertilizer so they will have enough nutrients to return another spring bloom.

If you don’t want to wait until spring for your blooms, many bulbs can be forced to bloom in the winter indoors. For more information on forcing bulbs, read our article “Forcing Flower Bulbs”.

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