Plant Bulbs in Fall for a Beautiful Spring Display

Pink Hyacinth A beautiful spring display of spring-blooming bulbs begins the previous fall. Yellow Tulips With the approaching holidays and

Pink Hyacinth

Pink Hyacinth

A beautiful spring display of spring-blooming bulbs begins the previous fall.


Yellow Tulips

With the approaching holidays and busyness of fall, it can be hard to even think ahead to spring.  But you will be so glad that you spent a little time planting bulbs in fall once they begin to bloom in spring.

Flowering HyacinthsGeorge Harrison

In the flowering fields of Holland, Michigan

I enjoy traveling and one of my favorite destinations is Holland, Michigan where the “Tulip Time” Festival is held at the beginning of May each year.  The town is awash in beautiful tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and many other spring-flowering bulb plants.  You can walk through fields of flowering bulbs as well as the downtown area which is filled with plantings of tulips.

daffodils and tulips

Tulips and Daffodils planted together.

But, before celebrating the arrival of spring and beautiful flowers, there is some preparation involved the year before in the fall.

Planting bulbs is easy to do and well worth the effort come springtime.


Ornamental allium blooming in downtown Chicago.

So what types of spring flowers can grow from bulbs?

Crocus, daffodils, hyacinth, muscari and ornamental allium just to name a few.

Tulips and Violas

Tulips with Violas planted among them in downtown Berea, Kentucky.

Are you feeling inspired to grow your own bulbs to enjoy once spring arrives?  Here is what you need to do to create your own beautiful spring display.

– Spring-flowering bulbs should be planted in fall, about 6 weeks before the ground freezes.  However, a good guideline is to plant them by the middle of November.

– Choose an area with full sun or light-filtered shade that has well-drained soil.  For maximum impact in spring, plant your bulbs in swaths or drifts instead of singly or in a row.  You can also plant more then one type of bulbs in the same area.  Combine contrasting colors of tulips together for a natural look or try planting tulips with daffodils for a beautiful look.

– How deep you plant your bulbs depends on how large their diameter is.  As a general rule, plant each bulb to a depth that is 2 -3 times their diameter.

TulipsJeremy Meyer

– Add bone meal or super-phosphate into the soil at the bottom of each hole.  Another fertilizer that is important to the growth of bulbs is a soluble 10-10-10 fertilizer (or a fertilizer formulated for bulbs).  Mix both fertilizers with the soil in the bottom of the hole.

– Place each bulb, (pointed side up) into the hole.  Fill with soil, and lightly tamp down to remove any air pockets and water in deeply.

– Additional water is usually not needed in fall and winter unless the season is drier then normal.

red tulipsRoland Jordahl

Remember, a little preparation in the fall will pay off huge dividends in spring when your garden will be enveloped in beautiful flowers.

For additional tips for planting spring-blooming bulbs, check out these “Spring Bulb Planting Tips” from Birds & Blooms.

There are many different types of spring-flowering bulbs to choose from.  Birds & Blooms has a list of their “Top 10 Spring Bulbs”.

How about you?  Which type of bulbs do you grow?

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Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. When she is not writing or helping other people with their gardens, you can find her growing fruits and vegetables, and planting flowering shrubs and maybe a cactus or two.