Now that autumn is officially here, we’re closing in on the best time to plant fall bulbs! Even though spring is months away, planting bulbs while the soil is still warm sets up the garden for a beautiful floral display as soon as the snow melts. These are our favourite fall bulbs to plant for spring in Simcoe!
Crocuses are a classic staple that blossom clusters of delicate-looking blooms in the springtime. The crocus “bulb” is called a corm, and they perform best if planted early in the fall. Corms should be planted with the pointed end up, 2-4” below ground in full sun to partial shade. The ideal planting location is an area of the garden with some wind shelter. Corms should be spaced 2-4” apart in neutral soil with excellent drainage. Water after planting to set the soil.
While related to onions and garlic, alliums won’t have the same kind of aromatic effect on your garden. Instead, these astounding, globe-shaped blooms will repel rodents—and attract stares! Alliums are definitely a feature plant, so choose a spot in the garden that will allow these statement flowers to steal the spotlight. When planting allium bulbs in fall, choose an area with full-sun exposure and well-draining soil. Alliums are not picky about pH levels. Space them 12-14” apart and plant 6” deep with the pointed end facing up. Water well after planting.
Peonies are stunning, long-lived plants that come in a wide variety of colour and shapes; from delicate single blooms to romantic “bombs” of petals. Herbaceous varieties grow from bulb-like “tubers” that do best when planted in September or October. When planting peony bulbs in fall, make sure to choose a spot with lots of sun (at least a half-day of exposure) with room for the plant to spread as it matures. Before planting, work plenty of organic matter and any soil amendments needed to end up with humus-rich, well-draining soil. Plant the bulbs 2” deep with the “eyes” facing upward. Space them apart 3-4 feet to allow for plenty of airflow. Give your peonies a good drink of water immediately after planting.
One of the most famous spring bulbs, tulips are some of the first flowers to greet you in the springtime with their assortment of pastel tones. Before planting tulips in fall, test the soil’s pH. Tulips prefer neutral to slightly acidic soil. Plant bulbs with the pointed end facing up, 8” deep and spaced 4-6” apart. Ensure the soil has excellent drainage, and mix in a little compost, peat moss, or bulb food into the topsoil to keep them fed. Water deeply after planting.
Daffodils are another springtime staple in Simcoe. Their sunny-yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers make charming additions to any landscape. When planting daffodil bulbs in fall, choose a location with full, intense sun exposure. Daffodils bulbs are quite resistant to cold and can be planted until the first frost. Plant bulbs 6-7” deep with the pointed end facing up, and space them 3-4” apart. Water well after planting.
Gladiolus, also known as “glads,” grow into tall stalks of head-turning, colourful flowers in every colour of the rainbow. They also make incredible cut flowers. Glads need an area of the garden with little to no competition, as they require a lot of soil resources to grow their biggest and brightest! When planting gladiolus bulbs in fall, choose a spot with full sun and sandy loam soil. Glads aren’t too particular about soil pH, but they are very sensitive to poor drainage. Plant them 2-6” deep and 5” apart. Apply a slow-release fertilizer at the time of planting and water deeply to finish.
While this may seem like a short list, each one of these spectacular bulb species come in a vast assortment of different varieties. Visit our garden centre in Simcoe to browse our entire selection—we’ll have fall bulbs for sale until it’s time to ring in the holidays!