Now's The Time To: Plant Your Spring-Blooming Flower Bulbs

Now through the early parts of November are the best times to plant spring-blooming flower bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, and more! These flowers are the first blooms that we see each spring and become a welcome sign to our gardens after a long and cold winter. These bulbs are really simple to plant and they will come back year after year; there is no maintenance or replanting needed.

Bulbs need several weeks in the ground to get their root systems growing before the ground freezes. However, you don’t want to plant them so early in the season that they have time to sprout. Sending up leaves will deplete some of the energy stored in the bulb, which it needs to get it through the winter. So if you’re having a long Indian Summer, hold off planting, you can't always wait for the calendar. Here are the basic rules to follow:

  • Gardeners in cold areas should plant in late August and September.

  • Gardeners in our area should wait until the temperatures start to dip, especially during the day. Depending on the year, September is a mark or later months for a hotter year. You can continue planting into November and beyond if the ground hasn't frozen.

  • Warmer climates won't get a chilling period, so these rules don't apply. It may be best to purchase pre-chilled bulbs.

Forgot to plant your bulbs? These guidelines are ideal planting times, but sooner or later every gardener buys bulbs and then forgets about them or doesn’t get around to planting. If the ground hasn't frozen yet, and as long as you can get your shovel in the ground, you can plant your bulbs. If the ground is frozen, here's what you can do instead, pot them, or plant on top of the soil. Spread your bulbs out and then top them with at least 6 - 8 inches of potting soil. It helps to circle the area with chicken wire or hardware cloth. The wire will hold the soil in place and deter rodents that will be tempted to make a meal of your bulbs. You can remove it in the spring.