Spring Bulb Planting Tips

If you’ve set foot in a garden center lately I’m sure you’ve seen signs everywhere stating that “Fall is for Planting”. It’s true.  Fall may be a  great time to plant shrubs and trees but my favorite thing to plant in autumn is spring bulbs.  Last year I planted over a hundred daffodils and tulips under the  Japanese Maple tree in my front yard. It may seem like a lot of flowers but it wasn’t enough. As far as I am concerned you can never have too many flowers.  Sure, digging in the dirt and plopping dozens and dozens of bulbs in the ground might not seem like very much fun right now but come spring time you’ll be so glad you did!  Your bulbs will be the first flowers to bloom next year and happy little crocuses and cheerful yellow daffodils swaying out in the breeze are sure to put a smile on your face.

grape hyacinths

I marched back and forth and back and forth down aisles full of bulbs at the Home Depot last weekend and ended up buying over 200 bulbs to plant in the upcoming weeks. I’ve got tulips in every color of the rainbow, funny looking daffodils, paperwhites, ranunculus and bright purple crocuses to bury in the ground.
Are you thinking of planting some bulbs for spring too? Bulbs are great because they are super easy and almost guaranteed to grow. Here are some of my favorite bulb planting tips.

* Choose healthy looking, large bulbs, the larger the bulb the more flowers will grow

* Make sure to plant the bulbs 6 weeks before the ground freezes (aka right now!!) You want the bulbs to begin to establish roots before the ground is frozen

* Plant the bulbs 2-3 times deep as the bulb is tall

* Plant pointy end up. If you put them in the ground upside down they will probably still be able to find their way up and out of the dirt but it would be nice of you to make things a little easier on your little flowering friends

* Plant the bulbs close together in groups. It looks nice when the blooms are packed tightly together. Also, flowers looks better when they are planted in odd numbers. I like to do groups of 3, 5 or 7.

* You can plant bulbs directly into the sod. This works great for crocuses because they are the first to bloom and will probably have died before you need to mow the grass.

* After the bulbs have finished flowering and died off you can cut the stem down but allow the foliage to die and turn brown. The leaves use photosynthesis to store energy back into the bulb so that they will bloom again the next year. If you rip off the leaves the bulb wont produce another flower next year.

* At the end of the season you can dig up the bulbs and store them in paper bags until it’s time to plant next year

Even if you don’t have yard to plant bulbs, you can still grow them indoors anytime of the year. Next week I’ll be sharing a tutorial on how to force bulbs indoors during the winter months. What are your favorite spring flowers?

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8 Responses to Spring Bulb Planting Tips

  1. Sydney says:

    I just bought 20 tulip bulbs and I plan on buying even more. The only problem I am now facing is that I have a fox family living in my back garden and they LOVE to dig up anything that doesn't have a guard. They have dug up my herb garden and my pots of geraniums.. I am nervous to see what they'll do to my tulips!

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  2. Great tips here, thanks!

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  3. Patricia says:

    I keep planning to plant bulbs in the fall and regret not doing it once spring comes ~ maybe this year….
    Thanks for the tips!

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  4. Oh, I am so envious that you have a yard where you can plant 200 bulbs! Our condo doesn't have any room for that, so I have to rely on the neighborhood for my spring bulb color fix and my beloved Hippaestrum indoors.

    I am hoping to do some outdoor container bulb planting, but may stick with late spring and summer bulbs for those. I like your tips, and will probably utilize some of them for the container planting.

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  5. ElfRenee says:

    Your hyacinths are beautiful!

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  6. Thanks all!
    @ Sydney, I've heard that animals don't like to dig up daffodils because they instinctively know they are poisonous. Maybe try planting a border of daffodils around the perimeter?

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  7. Charlie says:

    I have a newbie question, Do you have to dig up the bulbs at the end of the season?

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  8. Hi Charlie, You don't need to dig up the bulbs at the end of the season but if you want to move the bulbs around for the next year or plant something else during the late spring and summer months you should dig them up.

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