Bulbs planted outide

With fall arriving, your summer flowers are starting to fade as the air gets cooler. Now is the perfect time to start planning your bulb garden for next spring!

Plant now for color next spring

Fall is the best time to plant bulbs before the ground gets too hard and cold. A bit of planning now will help you have a bright and beautiful show in the spring.

After a long winter nothing says spring quite like brightly colored flowers peeking out from the cold, damp yard. Bulbs are a great way to bring a pop of color to your landscaping, but they need a bit of advance preparation. You need to plant bulbs in the fall for flowers that appear the following spring and early summer. With a bit of planning and careful placement, your bulbs will bring you that first taste of spring year after year. Here's what you need to know.

What to plant?

When deciding which bulbs to plant, consider three things — color, height and bloom time.

  • Color — With so many colors of flowering bulbs to choose from, the only limit is your imagination. Some people enjoy a rainbow of color in their flower beds, while others prefer to stick to a few colors that complement each other. Consider the other foliage in your yard and the colors that will be present in the spring or early summer. Some trees may still be bare in spring, while others may keep their leaves year-round.
  • Height — Consider the view when you are choosing the bulbs to plant. Low-growing flowers planted near walkways and driveways will be easy to see when you are outdoors, while taller varieties would be easier to see from the kitchen window. Because they bloom at different times, you can plant low-growing varieties like crocus and snowdrops to enjoy in early spring, then ever-popular tulips, daffodils and irises that will bloom later and stand taller in your yard.
  • Bloom time — Because they have staggered bloom times, you can plant multiple types of bulbs and enjoy color all through spring and early summer. A wide variety of flowering bulbs bloom between March and June, depending on your climate. Within the same flower bed, you can stagger bulbs of various colors and heights based on their bloom times, giving you a constantly changing display in your yard.

Planting is key

Since bulbs will be planted months before you will see results above ground, choosing the area where you plant them is important. The area where the bulbs will bloom should be relatively free of other foliage during their bloom time. Depending on your climate zone, most bulbs should be planted from mid-September to late October in order to give them the proper amount of time.

Mass plantings of bulbs make a big impact in a larger space, while small spaces do well with a handful of bulbs planted on the diagonal. Make sure you consider the angle the flowers will be most often viewed from when choosing the pattern you use to plant the bulbs for the most impact.

Check out these spring backyard maintenance tips >>

Where to buy

Your local home stores always have a variety of bulbs for sale, but there are many online resources for high-quality bulbs delivered right to your front door. Once you have decided on your color scheme and blooming schedule, you can map out the exact bulbs that work with your plan. Quality is important if you want your flowers to have a high rate of bloom and continue to come back year after year.

Planting bulbs can be a very rewarding experience if you spend some time planning. Time spent now will be rewarded with amazing blooms next spring and summer.

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Comments

Comments on "Planning your spring bulb garden"

Leah September 16, 2012 | 2:37 PM

Thanks for this article on planning a spring bulb garden. I just bought a new home and the previous owners neglected the yard so I have a huge mess to clean up. I am trying to get as much work done before the ground freezes and planting bulbs is high up on my list of things to do. I am looking forward to at least having a lush, beautiful garden outside my kitchen window next spring.

Lauren September 14, 2012 | 2:19 PM

I was literally just searching for how to grow a beautiful garden and looking for some tips. This hit exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for the advice!

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