April showers bring May flowers…but it helps if you remember to plant some bulbs. Flowering bulbs are an investment that pays off year after year with beautiful color and fragrance. Here are the most popular bulbs to plant in fall and a few tips for getting the best results.
When to Plant
Ideally, you’ll want to plant bulbs in the ground before the first hard frost but after the weather has turned cool. Make sure the area is well drained. Dig a hole of about 8 inches, the place the bulb with the pointy side up. Cover with soil, pat down (but don’t tamp too hard), and then move on to the next bulb. It’s surprisingly easy!
If you buy bulbs before it’s time to plant them, that’s okay. Most can be stored in a cool, dry place until you’re ready. Some bulbs, however, actually like to spend a little time in the fridge. If you are in zones 8-11, let tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and crocus chill in the fridge for 6-10 weeks.
Planting Bulbs in Containers
You can plant bulbs in containers, too! Make sure that the pot is large enough that the dirt will keep the bulbs insulated over the winter; otherwise, you can keep them in someplace cool and dry, like a garage. When spring rolls around, the green shoots and beautiful flowers will pop up like magic!
Best Bulbs to Plant in Fall
Daffodils: These are the workhorse of spring bulbs. Gorgeous, cheerful yellow or white blooms come back year after year. They’re hardy and pests like rabbits usually ignore the bulbs. They like bright sunlight, so avoid shady areas of the property.
Alliums: The globe-shaped clusters of purple flowers on alliums are absolute showstoppers. They’re easy to care for and provide both height and color to a garden.
Dutch Irises: Beautiful, almost regal blooms that are lovely as cut flowers. Dutch iris can thrive in full sun or partial shade. Although they have a short blooming period, they’re stunning while they last.
Tulips: Don’t worry, we didn’t forget the tulips. The classic spring bulb comes in every color of the rainbow—and few more, too! Try planting tulips at the center of a container with smaller plants surrounding them.
Hyacinths: The dainty, fragrant hyacinth is usually white, blue, or purple. They don’t grow very tall, but they pack a lot of blossoms into a small space.
Crocuses: Crocus shoots are the first to pop up in the spring, often pushing through the snow. They are very petite and thrive in full sun to partial shade. Try planting crocuses around the base of trees or scattered throughout a lawn.