Fall bulbs bloom in spring.
image by gracey/morguefile
If you are dreaming of a spring garden bursting with color, planting fall bulbs before the ground freezes may be the answer. As odd as it seems, fall bulbs produce blooms in early spring, and spring bulbs produce flowers in mid-summer or early fall. Although it may be a bit confusing for new gardeners, remember that fall and spring refers to the time the bulb is planted and not when it blooms. Fall bulbs produce a brilliant splash of color in early spring, long before other plants are ready to bloom.
Consider the size, color and shape of the flowers before purchasing bulbs. Miniature daffodils, hyacinths and crocus are ideal for small nooks where larger plants may look out of place. Giant tulips make a dramatic backdrop in any garden.
Select an area that receives full sun in early spring. Spring blooming bulbs thrive under deciduous trees that are bare of foliage in early spring. An area that receives southern sun warms quickly in spring, making it ideal for spring blooming bulbs. Northern areas produce blooms up to two weeks later than a sunny nook in the southern sun.
Select an area that receives full sun in early spring. Spring blooming bulbs thrive under deciduous trees that are bare of foliage in early spring. An area that receives southern sun warms quickly in spring, making it ideal for spring-blooming bulbs. Northern areas produce blooms up to two weeks later than a sunny nook in the southern sun.
Prepare the soil for planting by tilling to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Remove stones and other debris that may inhibit growth. Add generous amounts of compost or well-rotted manure and mix in well with the existing soil. Apply bulb fertilizer following the recommended application rate on the package. Mix in well.
Plant bulbs in fall several weeks before the ground freezes. This gives them plenty of time to establish roots and prepare for spring blooming. Plant to the recommended depth and spacing for your particular species. As a rule, bulbs require a planting depth equal to three times the height of the bulb. Spaced to a distance of twice the width of the bulb.
Push the bulb into the soil and cover with loose soil. Firm down with your hands to remove air pockets and settle the bulb. Water thoroughly to saturate the soil to the depth of the bulb.
Group bulbs in uneven numbers. Groups of three, five or seven create a natural look and appear to spring from nature. Keep in mind the color and size of the plants at maturity. Planting shorter varieties in front and taller flowers in the background provides levels of color and adds depth to your garden.