Fall is officially here and many of us couldn’t be more excited about mums, kale, pumpkins, and fall decor. Thinking of spring blooms is probably far from your mind! However, fall bulb care and planting is a small, but important, task on your fall landscaping “to-do” list that can make a beautiful impact statement for your home. So, what do you need to consider when planting fall bulbs and how do you go about it? Read on to learn more!
What are bulbs, and why should we plant them in the fall?
Simply put, a bulb essentially stores and feeds a developing flower as it grows to maturity. They have the capability to store food and nurture themselves through adverse conditions, like cold winters, and require a restful dormant period to develop. Planting bulbs at the right time in the fall will ensure that they’re settled in for that dormant period, will establish roots, and will sustain themselves until spring growth begins. Common bulbs for our area are tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, allium, and iris.
When should we plant fall bulbs?
Fall bulbs should be planted when the ground temperature is 55 degrees or cooler. Typically, here in Wisconsin, that means starting in late September or early October. Waiting until its cool enough is very important; planting when the soil is too warm can encourage your bulbs to produce tender top growth. Plant anytime through early-mid November, as long as the soil can be worked.
Where should bulbs be planted?
Bulbs will thrive best in a sunny space, allowing them to soak up as much of the warm spring rays as possible. Make sure the location gets 4 hours or more of light per day, and plant in an area that has good drainage.
What is the best way to plant bulbs?
Plant your bulbs pointed side up (when in doubt, plant the bulb on its side… it will find its way up!). As a rule of thumb, plant about 3x as deep as the height of your bulb. This can give you the opportunity to plant many bulbs in one area. For example: you can layer a small bulb like hyacinth on top of daffodils… you could even plant allium below the daffodils, ensuring a long season of spring/early summer blooms. In fact, planting multiple bulbs in a large hole creates a beautiful mass of flowers come spring.
Fertilize your bulbs at the time of planting, and again when growth emerges in the spring.
After the blooms are finished, don’t cut back the plant’s foliage until it becomes yellow and wilted. The plant will take energy from its healthy foliage to help nourish the bulb for future blooms!
As always, reach out to our talented and knowledgeable team members with any questions! We’re always here to help you dream, build, and nurture your outdoor haven!