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The Best Bulbs to Plant This Fall

October 5, 2020
Written by Aaron

We love choosing what bulbs to plant in autumn—there’s something exciting about designing your spring garden and waiting for all those colourful flowers to emerge at the first signs of warmer weather. But have you ever wondered why bulbs need to be planted so many months in advance?

Planting flower bulbs at the wrong time can stunt their growth or inhibit blooming altogether, so understanding the science behind it can help to ensure your spring garden is successful. Here’s a breakdown of why spring-flowering bulbs need to stay in the ground over the winter, and how to get the best results from planting.

fall planted bulbs

When Should I Plant Spring-Blooming Bulbs?

Flower bulbs that bloom in spring are naturally accustomed to staying in the ground over the winter. This cold period is essential to kickstarting their bloom cycle—the cold is like a period of hibernation, and once the temperature begins to rise, this signals to the bulb that it’s time to start growing! Without the transition from cold to warm, your flower bulbs will get confused and won’t develop properly.

While the bulb is hanging out in the soil for several months, this also gives them an opportunity to soak up tons of nutrients from the soil, so they’re ready to spring into action as soon as it’s warm out. This is why it’s always a good idea to mix in lots of compost and remove any weeds from the soil, so your bulbs take in all that extra good stuff, and the weeds won’t end up hogging all the resources.

Ideally, you’ll want to plant your bulbs about 6 weeks before the ground is about to freeze up. Since our weather can be a bit unpredictable in autumn, wait until the temperatures consistently hover around 5-10°C. These are comfortable conditions for your flower bulbs to go in the ground.

tips for planting bulbs

Tips for Planting Flower Bulbs

There’s a bit more to planting flower bulbs than simply digging a hole and tossing them in, so follow these basic guidelines to make sure they’re planted properly:

  • Choose a spot that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day. This will help your flowers bloom brightly.
  • Plant them with the pointy side facing upward.
  • Check the directions on the packaging to see the correct planting depth. Planting them too deeply can result in lots of leaves, but no flowers. Smaller bulbs usually only need to be planted about 4 inches deep, but larger bulbs like daffodils may need closer to 6–8 inches.
  • Consider applying a layer of mulch to help block out weeds and regulate the soil temperature.
  • Don’t add any fertilizer to the soil until spring, when you see the first signs of sprouting. Fertilizer just confuses plants in the fall and winter while they’re supposed to be resting, so hold off on using any and just stick with compost for building up soil nutrients.

daffodil and hyacinth blooms

What Bulbs are Planted in Fall? 

For instant spring colour as soon as the snow melts and the temperature rises, grab some of these spring-blooming bulbs to plant in fall in Ontario that we carry here at Eising:

  • Tulip
  • Daffodil
  • Crocus
  • Iris
  • Allium
  • Hyacinth
  • Snowdrops
  • Garlic

Ready to start designing your spring garden? We’d love to help! Visit Eising, and we’ll show you our incredible collection of the best spring bulbs to plant now, in every beautiful colour imaginable!

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