How to Plant Flower Bulbs in the Fall


Planting flower bulbs in the fall is an excellent way to ensure a splash of color in your yard or garden come spring. Bulbs are a wise garden investment, as they do not require a large upfront cost and are simple to plant and many types spread from one year to the next. You can plant bulbs until the ground is frozen, but earlier planting is recommended to help ensure a good show of blooms during the first growing season.

Step 1

Prepare the soil by loosening to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Add 3 to 4 inches of peat moss and mix with the soil.

Step 2

Add a fertilizer specifically designed for bulbs in the amount recommended on the package. Combine well with the loosened soil.

Step 3

Dig a hole at the depth indicated on the growing instructions you received with your bulbs. Plant the bulbs with the pointed end toward the surface of the soil. If you are unsure about which end is the top, plant the bulb sideways. Refill the hole with soil and tamp down well.

Step 4

Water just enough to moisten the soil thoroughly, but not enough to make it soggy.

Step 5

Cover the bed where the bulbs are planted with a layer of fine wire mesh. This will keep animals from digging and eating the bulbs.

Step 6

Add a 3-inch layer of organic mulch after the first freeze of the season. This will protect the bulb's new root system and prevent damage from frequent freezes and thaws during winter.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid over-watering newly planted bulbs to prevent root rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden trowel
  • Peat moss
  • Bulb fertilizer
  • Organic mulch
  • Fine wire mesh


  • University of Illinois Extension: Bulbs and More
  • Back Yard Gardener: Fall Planted Bulbs for Spring Beauty
  • Colorado State University Extension: Fall-Planted Bulbs and Corms
  • University of Vermont Extension: Fall Planting for Spring Flowers
Keywords: flower bulbs, plant fall bulbs, spring flowers, plant flower bulbs

About this Author

Annita Lawson has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. Her work has been published in various web and print outlets, including The Dabbling Mum, A Virtuous Woman, and Pediatrics for Parents. Lawson is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Southeast Kentucky Community College. She enjoys sharing all that she has learned about parenting, healthy eating and living a frugal lifestyle.