Planting bulbs in fall means gorgeous colours come spring! Perennial bulbs are clever little storage facilities that hold all the nutrients and energy needed to survive winter and pop up once the ground thaws. Plant early bloomers in fall, as they need a dormant period of cooler temperatures before they are ready to grow.
It’s best to plant spring-blooming bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, and tulips in fall, after a few light touches of frost (in Southern Ontario, that’s usually September/October).
You want your bulbs in the ground before the snow flies and ground frost sets in. On the flip side, planting too early can promote out-of-season sprouting, which will impact the health of the bulb.
Beautiful balls of colour, these perennialized bulbs come in various purples, pinks, and whites. Two of my favourites are Drumstick and Globe Master.
These classic beauties are a sure sign of spring! Yellow and orange are the most popular, but you can also find shades of pink, white, and mixed varieties. A perennial bulb, your daffodils will greet you year after year.
One of my favourite tulips, the ruffled edges add an interesting texture to your spring garden – they also make excellent cut flowers when you want to bring the colour inside.
Not as widely known as others on our list, fritillaria are a great addition to your spring garden! With beautiful bell-shaped flowers, fritillaria blooms in early spring.
With delicate blooms on bright green leaves, grape hyacinth makes a great, low-maintenance ground cover.
One of the first flowers to greet us in the spring, these beautiful little blooms pop up right after the snow melts. Their nectar-rich centres are a favourite first food for winter-weary bees!
You plant your bulbs looking forward to the spring show, but the squirrels see them as a tasty snack! Plant less appealing varieties if you’re fighting over your bulbs with mother nature’s creatures. Squirrels will stay away from bulbs that are poisonous or smelly. Try daffodils/narcissus, allium and fritillaria.
If you have your heart set on tulips and croci, try these ideas:
And my #1 rule after planting bulbs…clean up any shells. Otherwise, you are leaving a trail of breadcrumbs right to the prize!
Early spring bloomers should be planted in fall, while summer bloomers (think dahlias, canna lilies or gladiolus) will not overwinter and shouldn’t be in the ground until mid-spring.
Store bulbs in a cool, dark space until it’s time to plant; keep them out of the light, keep them dry, and keep them cool. A cold cellar is ideal.
Planting bulbs in fall ensures you’ll have the first flowers to pop up in spring! Not only are they pretty to see after months of snowfall, but our pollinator friends will thank you for a snack after a long winter.