Wondering what blubs to plant this fall for spring flowers? Here are the best fall bulbs to plant for spring blooms that survive winter!
Fall is here and that means it’s time to plant fall bulbs for spring!
Every March and April, as my zone begins to wake from its winter slumber, I wonder why on earth I didn’t plant more flower bulbs during fall the year before! I’m drawn to gorgeous tulip bunches in the markets and ranunculus bouquets gracing the covers of wedding magazines. I’m envious of neighbors whose yards spring alive with a full display of daffodils, and flower farms with endless beds of tightly packed tulips for cutting. I decided on which fall bulbs to plant this fall earlier in spring when I was admiring those things!
Deciding Which Bulbs to Plant
Last fall we planted 2,000 tulip bulbs (guide coming soon!) and 500 daffodils and I finally tried ranunculus for the first time (HUGE success, more on that soon!). I ordered my bulbs in early September last year, planted them in November, and by spring I had 2,500 amazingly beautiful blooms, all which went towards our Tulip CSA through our flower farm/mobile flower truck: Wild Iris Flower Truck.
This spring, I went a step further and I finally remembered to order my bulbs at the end of their blooming season. This is always a good rule of thumb for bulbs and tubers— order while it’s their season to bloom and you’ll get the pick of the litter. I was able to get every specialty variety on my wish list by ordering early!
It’s ok if you are late to order, you will still be able to find bulbs to plant this fall, but every variety you had on your list may not be available!
Eden Brothers is my favorite source for bulbs and tubers for the home gardener. I’ve ordered my tulips, daffodils and dahlias for years from them and they’ve always been great quality! Other retailers I have had great experiences with are Longfield Gardens, Breck’s and Dutch Grown. For the flower farmer (bulk and business orders) I recommend ADR Bulbs.
For ranunculus (need to be grown in low tunnels in zones 7 and below but ok for zones 8 and above as a late winter-blooming crop), I went with Romantic Mix and White Picotee.
Types of Bulbs to Plant During Fall
I decided on these White Emperor tulips for the front of our house. And then for our flower farm, La Belle Epoque Bright Mix and Apricot Parrot are amazing as cut flowers! Beware if you have a deer problem, they LOVE tulips and will chomp on the freshest buds. It’s so sad. The only true way to deter deer is to put up an eight-foot-high fence.
Narcissus are possibly the most underrated (and my favorite) of the spring-blooming bulbs. There are thousands of varieties including all white, peaches and blush tones. Who knew right!? My favorites include Replete, Petit Four and British Gamble. This Double Mix from Eden Brothers is so insanely pretty and a great place to start as a newbie. I love that you can find pre-made mixes that will bloom for months on end between the different varieties included. Best part— deer stay far away from narcissus because of their poisonous sap.
I’m also thinking this may be the year I add alliums to one of our beds when planting bulbs for spring this fall. They add depth and texture and have all different bloom times—very exciting!
If you’ve been eyeing peonies…this is also the time to order and plant for fall. My all-time favorite being Sarah Bernhardt! Keep in mind peonies are an investment in both time and money. Typically, you won’t see blooms for 2-3 years on newly planted bare roots. Year one most likely none; year two, a few; and by year three they’re amazing!
Below I’ve listed my favorite and the easiest fall bulbs to plant now for a spring bloom. Scroll down for my tips to get the most gorgeous spring show!
Fall Bulbs to Plant Plus Garlic
- Allium (ornamental and edible)
- Garlic – See this link and tell me if you are not inspired to plant garlic after reading it!
- Bareroot peony
- Ranunculus (zones 7 and above)
To see som examples of stunning pots with bulbs in them, visit my Pinterest here. I’ve saved tons of fall bulbs to plant!
Tip for Planting Bulbs
Growing bulbs is super easy! You set them and forget them, but the key is to be sure they are chilled and planted deep enough. If you don’t get a natural freeze, you can place your bulbs in the fridge about 12 weeks before planting. Plant them in the ground within the first 24 hours of pulling them out of the fridge.
To aid with planting bulbs in the landscape, I have a bulb planter that I use, and it pulls up the soil at just the right depth. Spacing varies a bit, but about 2 inches apart for each bulb is a safe bet. I haven’t had luck with planting bulbs in containers, probably because they get too cold when left outside in my zone, but here is a great source I found for info on planting bulbs in containers.
Fall bulbs require almost zero maintenance until their little stems begin to show in spring. I don’t water them and do not add amendments beyond compost, worm castings and mycorrhizae fungi at the time of planting. If you live in a super dry (Western US) climate you can water the fall bulbs at the time of planting and then again weekly during the active growing season.
Well, there you have it, my favorite fall bulbs to plant for spring blooms! In the comments below, tell me what you’re planning on for your spring garden!
For more fall gardening tips, check out these posts!
21 Vegetables to Plant in Your Fall Garden
Fall Garden Tasks and Prep Work To Do Now
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