Fall Flower Planting
Planting flowers in the fall can be done to create an array of color as the seasons change or to prepare for the coming spring. Certain flowers can be planted in the fall and will grow and display blooms until frost. Other fall planting is to ensure a colorful showing of spring flowers when the weather warms up.
Fall is when most people think of mums--a hardy perennial that is usually associated with the autumn season. Mums usually become available in most locations toward the end of summer. Mum flowers will bloom as the days become shorter during the autumn. Mums should be planted in full sun and soil that is well-drained. The best time to plant mums in the fall is in late August through early September. This will allow time for the roots to become established before the winter cold snap.
Spring flowering bulbs should be planted during the fall to allow plenty of time for the root systems to develop before the cold winter weather sets in. Ideally, spring flowering bulbs should be planted after soil temperatures have dropped below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This generally requires the gardener to wait until mid- to late September or October for bulb planting.
When planting bulbs, choose a site that will get six hours of direct sunlight. The bulb should be planted with the narrow, pointed end up. Plant bulbs at a depth of approximately three times the width of the bulb
Plant tulip bulbs between September and November--before the ground freezes. Plant according to package directions but you may plant bulbs about 1 inch deeper than package recommendations. Choose a sunny site that is well-drained. Add aged manure or plant food that is recommended for bulbs after planting. Water thoroughly after planting the bulbs. Dry winter days may require extra watering.
Narcissus and Daffodils
The terms narcissus and daffodil are interchangeable and refer to the same flower--a sunny yellow flower that is usually associated with the Easter season. Narcissus flowers can bloom from March through May in some regions. Narcissus bulbs can be planted in a variety of locations--in front of hedges, in rock beds, and under trees. Avoid planting narcissus bulbs against building foundations or beneath the eaves of a home. This can block the plants from receiving proper amounts of water. October is the month generally recommended for planting narcissus bulbs.
Crocus is actually not a bulb, but a corm. It is often considered a bulb plant because it, like tulips and daffodils, are planted in the fall to prepare for spring flowering. A corm is actually an enlarged, solid stem. Crocus is a relative to the iris. Crocus corms should be planted in the fall at the same time as other spring bulb plantings. Crocus plants need well-drained locations as they will easily rot in soil that holds in water.