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If there’s one thing I absolutely love about nature, it’s watching flowers bloom in early Spring. The earliest blooms are from Fall bulbs planted for Spring flowers.
Winter always feels like the most stagnant season. Trees have long since shed their leaves. Grass takes a break from growing. Plants are often buried under blankets of snow. Animals use winter to take a respite. Even gardeners use winter as a time of rest.
As winter makes its exit, there’s something magical about seeing little pops of color coming to life and bursting forth from the hardened ground.
Not only can it be heartening to see early blooming flowers (goodbye winter!), they also help to attract bees to your garden – which is great for pollination!
When to Plant Bulbs for Spring Flowers
If you want to be sure to have plenty of early-blooming spring flowers, the best time to plant bulbs is actually in late fall to early winter. This gives them time to grow their roots before the harsh cold of winter fully sets in.
Since most bulbs need around 3 months to prepare underground before blooming, planting around this time gives them ample opportunity to establish themselves before putting on the colorful show we love.
To give your spring flowers the best chance, you should be sure to plant them before the first frost of the season.
Not sure when that is? Almanac.com is a great resource! They have a very user-friendly tool on their website to help you estimate the first and last frosts of the season.
Simply open their Frost Dates Calculator, enter your zip code, and it will tell you the the average date of the last spring frost and first fall frost based on the weather station that is closest to your location.
You can then use this as a guide for when you should plant your bulbs.
How to Pick the Best Bulbs
When picking bulbs, you should use similar guidelines as when you’re choosing fruit and veggies. For one, you want to choose bulbs that are plump and firm.
If they are soft or mushy, they’re probably not going to last the winter season or yield a good bloom. Avoid any that have mold or funky odors.
You should also generally choose big bulbs. Big bulbs mean big flowers.
Best Bulbs to Plant for Spring Flowers
Wondering which bulbs you should plant right now? Here is a quick guide:
These flowers get their name not only from their white coloring, but because they can often be found poking through the snow. These bell-shaped flowers symbolize new beginnings. How fitting!
These vibrantly-colored, sweet smelling beauties are a favorite of bees. They are also known to bloom in early spring, heralding the arrival of spring.
These hardy perennials have a long flowering life. In some areas, you can enjoy their colors for up to 6 months! These are also amongst the easiest flowers to grow, making them a great choice for beginner gardeners.
Though these lovely blue flowers don’t bloom for long, you will have 3 weeks to enjoy their glory. They are also great if you love tall flowers -they can reach up to 10 inches in height!
If you love blue flowers, another great option is scilla. This star-shaped flower comes in a variety of colors, including blue. They are glorious when added to bouquets.
Growing even earlier than the crocus, this yellow flowers (which are technically tubers rather than bulbs) will often pop up during late winter. Hence the reason they are also called winter aconite.
Making Sure the Soil is Right for Planting Bulbs
When it comes to finding the perfect time to plant your flower bulb collection, you want to keep in mind the hardness and wetness of the soil. You want to pick a time when the soil is still pliable.
After all, you’re going to have to do quite a bit of digging. That’s why it’s important to plant before winter causes the ground to freeze and harden.
You also need to make sure that the ground isn’t too wet. If you plant the bulbs in soggy soil, what will likely happen is that the bulbs will rot. Rotten bulbs won’t bloom, so all of your hard work will be wasted.
If you don’t already have an established garden or plot, you will need to make sure your soil is ready for planting. That will likely involve removing weeds and rocks as well as tilling the soil so it’s easier to work with.
You should also add mulch or compost to give the bulbs some added nutrients.
How to Plant Fall and Winter Bulbs for Spring Flowers
My biggest piece of advice is to follow the directions on the labels. They will give you all the information you need regarding where, when, and how to plant the bulbs. Most of them also give you tips that are specific to your region of the world.
When planting bulbs, keep in mind both water and sunlight sources. Bulbs love sunlight and don’t need to be planted anywhere that is constantly wet.
When planting, make sure you plant the bulb root-side down. That way, the roots can establish themselves in the right direction.
If you’re confused about which side is the root-side, a good measure to take is to plant the bulb on its side. They are usually able to self-correct as they grow.
You can dig by hand, or if your soil is nice and loose, use this bulb planting tool. They work great and make the job even easier.
Be sure to plant the bulbs 5 to 8 inches below the surface and give them an initial watering. As long as your area of the world gets a decent amount of rain, there’s no need to water them beyond that.
Protecting the Bulbs from Wildlife
Do you live in an area with a lot of wildlife and worry about them digging up your bulbs? Gophers can be a real problem! If so, there are actually a few bulbs you can plan to deter them.
We recommend planting bulbs of onion, garlic, or shallots. The scent will usually repel animals that would otherwise enjoy a bulb buffet. Daffodils are also poisonous to most animals, so if you have some on hand, it helps to plant a few around your other flower bulbs.
I hope this has given you enough information to start planting your bulbs for spring flowers. Here’s to wishing you a colorful spring!
More articles about Growing Flowers
Low Maintenance Perennials for the Shade – how we created a flower bed for the shadiest spot in our yard
How to Get the Most From a Small Garden – tips and tricks to maximize your garden space
The Very Best Gifts for Gardeners – Feed their hobby!
How to Make a Pathway Flower Bed – low maintenance perennials for the sun
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