Fall-planting bulbs are some of the easiest flowers to grow. With planning, and some patience, a novice gardener can create a spectacular spring display. As winter nears its end, the progression of color can create an eye-popping landscape that will make you the envy of the neighborhood. Below is a list of general questions we’ve compiled from phone calls, letters, and emails that can help clear up confusion and answer some misconceptions about planting bulbs in the fall.
What are fall planting bulbs?
Simply put, fall planting bulbs are flower bulbs that are planted during the autumn to provide color and flowers the following spring. Crocus, hyacinths, narcissus, and tulips are all representative of fall planting bulbs. These bulbs need the cooling period of winter in order to bloom, but also need time to establish a healthy root system to survive the winter frost. Fall bulbs need to be planted after the temperature reaches 65 degrees, or lower, but a leat 6 to 8 weeks prior to a hard frost. Bulbs do best planted in the ground, especially ones that naturalize, but can easily be grown in containers as well with extra maintenance. Planning a bulb garden is not essential; however, with a little research and thought, a showy spring garden can easily be attained.
Bulbs need to be kept in a cool and dry location prior to planting.The warmer temperatures and healthy rains in Spring activate bulbs, so storage in areas that have higher moisture and heat will trigger a bulb to grow. Bulbs with sprouts can still be planted, but the sprout should not be damaged or removed, or else, the plant will not grow. Bulbs are alive when they reach a garden center, and will carry a shelf life of 4 months before they can no longer survive. Gardeners can purchase bulbs early in the season and store them at home in the same conditions: a cool, dark, dry location. Storage can be an open paper bag in a dark place, like a closet shelf. The variety of bulbs will be much greater at the beginning of the season, so you may want to shop early and store them at home until they are ready to plant.