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The ultimate fall planting guide for beautiful spring flowers

There’s still time to bury bulbs before the ground freezes. You’ll be so glad you did come next spring.

1. Snowdrop (Galanthus)

Image: Gideon Chilton/Flickr

This little beauty, also known as the milk flower, may well be the first bloom you see next year. Part of the Amaryllis family, your darling snowdrops will probably appear before winter is over.

2. Fritillary (Fritillaria)

Image: Vix/Flickr

Sharing a name with a beautiful butterfly species, fritillaria is a true showstopper. It resembles a tulip except that the bloom faces downward. It can boast a single hue or feature exquisite patterns. Despite the fact that it appears to shy away from the sky, fritillaria thrives in areas of full sun.

3. Hyacinth (Hyacinth)

Image: Roman Boed/Flickr

White, pink, blue, violet…. the spectacular hyacinth is a work of art. Measuring about eight inches tall and three inches wide, this fragrant flower gets hardier with each passing year. Plant in well-drained soil that receives full sun to part shade.

More: 7 Terrible gardening tips to ignore

4. Daffodil (Narcissus)

Image: Matthew Chambers/Flickr

Also known as jonquil and daffadowndilly, the reliable daffodil is a sure sign of spring. Most are yellow or white (or some combination of the two). Plant bulbs in moist, well-drained soil in a location that enjoys sun, and reap the rewards of a bright, cheery show. Bonus: Deer do not eat daffodils!

5. Crocus (Crocus)

Image: Jose M. Vazquez/Flickr

Croci can be purple (the most common color), white or yellow. Super-tiny, they grow to a mere four inches tall. They’re strong, too, and happily push their way through the frozen, snow-covered ground. Ideal growing conditions: full sun and well-drained soil.

6. Grape Hyacinth (Muscari)

Image: Michael Spiller/Flickr

Not to be confused with the hyacinth above, the grape hyacinth is a simple little stalk of deep blue flowers that resembles a bunch of grapes. Plant a mass of these gems in a group, and prepare to be awed with a sea of sensational color. For a healthy crop, plant in full sun to partial shade.

More: 7 Summer perennials to plant in the spring

7. Scilla (Squill)

Image: Anita/Flickr

The daintiest flower in your spring garden will be the sweet-smelling scilla. This perennial herb is found in a variety of colors, including blue (most common), white, pink and purple. It enjoys moist, but well-drained, soil and plenty of sun.

8. Tulip (Tulip)

Image: Carolyn Jewel/Flickr

The queen of spring is undoubtedly the tulip. Available in a countless array of shapes and colors, this tall, majestic beauty produces gorgeous blooms. Flower fans flock to breathtaking tulip gardens around the world. Standing more than 14 inches tall, the stately tulip appreciates full sun and well-drained soil.

How to plant spring bulbs

Image: Christopher Sessums/Flickr
  • Pick a place. Consider your flowers’ needs before selecting a planting spot. Some need full sun while others prefer a bit of shade. Most thrive in well-drained soil: too soggy, and the bulbs will rot; too sandy, and the bulbs won’t grow.
  • Dig the hole. For a show of flowers, dig a trench for your bulbs. The hole should be approximately three times as deep as the bulb is tall, which means that different bulbs should be planted at different depths. If your hole isn’t deep enough, the bulb will be too close to the surface and damaging winter weather.
  • Nourish the soil. A high-phosphorus fertilizer (5-10-5) mixed with the dirt in the bottom of your hole will boost root development.
  • Make room for roots. The roots will extend from the round, bottom part of the bulb, so make sure there is room underneath to allow for this growth. The “pointy” part of the bulb should face up.
  • Space wisely. You don’t want to place the bulbs too far apart — your “show” will appear too sparse — but you also don’t want them touching each other.
  • Make contact. The bulb should be placed securely on the soil. Avoid leaving air pockets between the soil and the bulb so the roots don’t dry out.
  • Close it up. Replace the soil you removed, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets. Add water and additional soil.
  • Wait. While you’re warm and cozy indoors, your bulbs will be warm and cozy in their trench. As winter draws to a close and warmer weather approaches, your spring flowers will begin to appear. You’ll be so glad you took the time to plant them.

More: 11 Hardy plants that make fall gardening a breeze

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