Planting Fall Bulbs


Perennial bulbs, also called naturalizing bulbs, are a group of flowers that grow from one root, which can be planted in the fall to produce flowers in the spring or summer and will continue to grow year after year.

Combining perennial bulbs with annual flowers that do not return for more than one season will help you attain variety along with the flexibility to change your flower bed each year. Select a well-drained area to plant your bulbs; planting in low spots that are too wet will make the bulbs susceptible to rotting.


Plant fall bulbs before the ground reaches temperatures that are too cold for the bulbs to start growing. A ground temperature of just under 60 degrees after the first frost is preferred. Planting your bulbs too early can cause fungus growth. Dig a hole two to three times as deep as the width of your bulb, with the flat side down and the nose (pointed) side facing up. For the best visual appeal, plant bulbs in groups to grow a thick plentiful flower bed. Use a trowel to dig a hole or a bulb planter for quick and easy planting and cover the bulbs with soil.


Right after planting, water your bulbs so they can start rooting. Be careful not to overwater, as this can cause root rot. Water the bulbs about an inch each week after planting unless there has been rainfall. Upon the first sign of sprouting in the spring, it is a good idea to apply a layer of fertilizer to help the growing process. Apply fertilizer a second time once you notice that the leaves are starting to die back.


Dead head flowers before they start dying to ensure that they will preserve energy and grow back next year. Dead heading is removing old blooms and seed heads from plants to help keep plants blooming longer. Tulips should be dead headed before they go to seed.


If you notice a decrease of flower growth, the bulbs have reached the dormant state and it is time to divide them. They should be divided in the summer once the flowers have died. Dig deep in the ground to reach your bulbs and divide them. Bulbs can be stored in a well-ventilated place until they are ready to be planted again. Replant them in the fall throughout your garden bed for a thicker group of flowers next year.