If you want a beautiful blooming garden come Spring, consider planting your Spring-blooming bulbs in the Fall. Think tulips, daffodils, and alliums. Some of the most beautiful flowers that come to mind when you think of Spring perform best when planted in the Fall before the first frost date.
This might sound strange to gardening newbies, but the savviest gardeners understand that in order to have a lush garden full of color and texture, they need to plan and prepare in advance. This means getting out that garden planner, choosing which flowers you want in your yard, and understanding when to plant them and what they require to thrive.
While many people hang up their gardening gloves in late August, you should know that gardening is actually a year-round hobby. There’s plenty of work to be done in the garden come Fall and Winter!
Plus, Fall gardening can be so enjoyable. Think about it – the weather is much cooler which means you don’t have to wake up at 6 am to avoid the heat!
WHEN TO PLANT FALL BULBS
You should plant your Fall bulbs about 6-8 weeks before your zone’s first frost date. Don’t know your frost date? You can check it here.
Planting at this time will ensure that the soil is still at a decent temperature (about 50 degrees during the evenings). It will also give the roots enough time to grow and establish before the ground freezes.
If you’re wondering why bulbs do best in the Fall, here’s the answer: bulbs require a few months of cool weather because that’s what causes a biochemical procedure that forces them to bloom in the Spring. Pretty neat, right?
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s delve into this list of Spring-blooming bulbs that should be planted in the Fall!
8 Spring-Blooming Bulbs to Plant in the Fall
1. Tulips – Zones 4-7
What’s a Spring garden without tulips? Tulips come in an array of colors so they’re perfect for adding bright pops of color to your yard. Make sure the bulbs you buy are firm to the touch. Don’t purchase soft or soggy bulbs – that means they’re not healthy and are not likely to survive Winter.
Tulips need good drainage; they’ll rot if the soil has too much moisture, so plant accordingly.
2. Daffodils – Zones 4-8
Daffodils are another beloved Spring flower. You can plant them about 4 weeks before your zone’s first frost date. For me, that means planting in late November. The daffodil is a beautifully shaped flower and you can find it in a few different colors. If you like pops of yellow in your garden, make sure to plant a few daffodil bulbs this Fall!
3. Alliums – Zones 3-9
The Allium is an interesting and unique plant; having it in your yard will add height and texture to your garden. Alliums grow tall on thin but sturdy stems and they bloom in the shape of big snowballs! Also known as “ornamental onions”, alliums have a long blooming period and are very easy to grow.
Gardeners love growing them because they bloom during those few weeks in which Spring flowers have already stopped blooming but Summer flowers have yet to bloom. To learn more about how to grow alliums, check out my post here!
4. Narcissus – Zones 3- 8
No Spring garden is complete without a trumpet-shaped flower! The Narcissus is the perfect option. I love them in shades of yellow, which can help brighten any garden. Plant your bulbs about 7 inches deep and 4 inches apart. They can be planted in an area that will get full sun to partial shade.
5. Ranunculus – Zones 8-10
The Ranunculus is one of my favorite flowers because it’s so elegant and the perfect addition to bouquets and tablescapes. They do very well in warmer zones, so if you live in an area with very cold Winters, you might want to wait to plant these bulbs in early Spring.
They’re a full-sun flower so plant them in an area that gets about 6 hours of sunlight each day. You’ll also want to plant them no deeper than 2 inches into the soil, and 4-6 inches apart.
6. Dutch Irises – Zones 5-9
Dutch Irises can be added to cut gardens. The uniquely-shaped flower, which resembles the orchid, can be found in many different colors and patterns. They’ll bloom from late Spring to early Summer, and can be grown in full-sun to full-shade. Plant your bulbs about 4 inches deep into the soil.
7. Freesias – Zones 9-11
If you’re looking for sweet fragrance and beautiful color, try planting a few freesia bulbs. Freesias do best in full-sun to light-shade. Plant them 2 inches deep into the soil and 3 inches apart. If you live in a zone with cold Winters, you can plant your bulbs indoors and inside a container, just make sure to provide them with enough light during the day.
Once they’re done blooming, leave the blooms intact and let them die back naturally; don’t snip them off because they’ll continue to gather sunlight in order to strengthen their bulb for next year’s blooms.
8. Hyacinths – Zones 4-9
I love Hyacinths, they’re such a gorgeous flower! You can find them in several colors so try purchasing a few bulbs in different shades if you want to add variety to your garden. This is a low-maintenance flower and will only need light moisture and full to part sun in order to thrive.
Plant your bulbs about 4 inches deep and 4 inches apart. Make sure to plant them in well-drained soil. After they bloom, leave them in place. Like Fressia’s, they’ll use the sun and photosynthesis to strengthen their bulb for next year’s blooms. Hyacinths are also an excellent flower for container gardening.
If you’re looking for guidance on what to do in your garden during the Fall, check out the post I write about Fall perennials. Remember, if you want to a close-to-perfect Spring garden, you’ll have to plan a few months ahead! To learn more about perennial gardening, read my post on low-maintenance perennials and full sun perennials to start designing a low-maintenance garden!