Bulbs are easy-to-plant perennials that can brighten your garden with color from the first breaths of spring all the way into summer. They need a period of dormancy in the ground over winter, so spring-blooming bulbs need to be planted in fall. Yet the overwhelming variety of flowers and bloom times can easily cloud your vision. Let’s shed light on the most important tips for planting bulbs this fall season:
Choosing Bloom Times
The beauty of spring is that it has three sub-seasons of its own, even here in the Midwest! Few bulbs bloom for the whole course from April to June, but instead display color for early, mid- or late spring. When laying out your plantings, know the dates to expect each flower, so you can plan for color throughout the whole spring. Here are some inspiring selections for each bloom time:
Early Spring: chionodoxa, crocus, galanthus, scilla, snowdrops.
Mid-Spring: hyacinth, muscari, mid-season daffodils, mid-season tulips.
Late Spring: alliums, late daffodils, late tulips.
If you want to enjoy a succession of blooming flowers right in the same spot, be sure to mix some early, mid- and late season bloomers together when you plant. When you plan ahead for spring, the first flowers of the year are all the more stunning.
Don’t let the darkening days of fall pass without planting bulbs to bloom for spring. Knowing the bloom times, you can masterfully place them anywhere you want a burst of color.
Layering your bulbs is another way to guarantee color in a bed throughout the season. Rather than mixing them together, bury the late bloomers at the lowest level, followed by mid-spring bulbs in the middle, and early bloomers on top. Below ground it looks like a lasagna of bulbs, while above, you view a sequence of flowers flourishing from the very same ground.
4 Tips for Lasagna Designs:
- You can make a lasagna in a large container or right in the ground.
- Give each bulb one bulb-width of space from its neighbors.
- Add about two inches of soil or compost between each layer.
- Don’t worry if some are right above each other as the lower flowers will find their way around the bulbs above.
One Example of Lasagna Layering: A popular choice would be to put crocuses on top, hyacinths in the middle, and tulips on the bottom. You can try two layers of bulbs, or even four layers as well. As long as you know the bloom times of each one, feel free to let your inspiration guide you.
How to Choose Healthy Bulbs at the Garden Center
No matter how you choose to plant in fall, you want to buy bulbs that are going to bloom. Healthy bulbs have a greater chance of sending out roots and flowers in the spring. But how do you identify them? Healthy bulbs will be firm, with weight proportional to their size. They’ll be free of signs of decay, including any mushy spots, but not be too shriveled or dry either.
Don’t let the darkening days of fall pass without planting bulbs to bloom for spring. Knowing the bloom times, you can masterfully place them anywhere you want a burst of color. Even though you know their rough blooming dates, you never know exactly when they’ll emerge. And it’s still one of the most-awaited surprises of the year to see crocuses, daffodils and tulips rise up from the earth. Drop by our garden center in the Quad Cities today to make your selections of bulbs to plant this fall!