“To Plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” – Audrey Hepburn
When we plant bulbs in the autumn, we’re full of hope for the coming spring. We know that all winter we’ll be enjoying the snow and the melancholy grayness of winter. But as early as February and March, the bulbs we planted in autumn start rising to the surface, delivering us the first fanfare of spring.
Here is a list of some of our favorite bulbs to plant in autumn, and when you can expect them to bring colorful springtime joy to your garden.
Plant tulips in the autumn before the ground begins to freeze. October is a perfect time. Be sure to plant tulips in either full sun or afternoon sun in well-drained soil. Before planting, loosen the soil and plant the bulbs eight inches deep.
Depending on the variety, you can enjoy new tulip blooms all spring long, from March to early June.
English folklore claims that if you’re the first person to spot a daffodil in the springtime, then you will gain riches over the course of the year. Likewise, if you give a bundle of daffodils as a gift, good fortune and luck will be yours.
Expect Daffodils to be one of the first flowers to declare spring. Expect them to pop up in early spring, as early as March. Some varieties continue blooming all spring long.
Crocus blooms so early that this beautiful flower is often the first to show its face in February. Plant crocus to get the first hint that spring is right around the corner, even when there’s still snow on the ground.
Plant crocus just about anywhere, except on the shady north side of buildings. Before winter, cover the bulbs with mulch. When they start to come up in February and March, keep bell jars or coverings on hand to protect the new shoots from the return of harsh winter weather.
Bearded Iris comes in a vast array of colors, and they’re the gardener’s dream. They’re hardy, perennial, and easy to grow. They’re also wonderful for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.
Bearded Iris will bloom in early summer and then again in late summer, so you get double the color! Make sure you plant Iris in a sunny spot where they won’t be shaded by other plants.
Hyacinths are neither too early nor too late, blooming in the middle of spring. Their sweetly fragrant blooms are sure to immerse your senses in all that springtime has to offer.
Hyacinths are also perennials, so they’ll come back year after year. Be sure to plant the bulbs four inches deep in well-drained soil. Hyacinths do best in sun or partial shade.
Grape hyacinths are the tiny siblings to hyacinths. Like “normal” hyacinths, they do great in containers and do well growing inside during the winter. These also bloom in mid-April.
Also known as Naked Ladies, Surprise Lilies add a showy splash of color to springtime. Lilies like well-drained soil and lots of sun, as much as 6 – 8 hours of direct sun per day. Plant Lilies three times as deep as the height of the bulb.
Expect Surprise Lilies to bloom in early- to mid-summer.
Alliums will make you feel like you landed in a Dr. Seuss story, with their puffy, giant blooms that dwarf children and animals. Alliums are great because they’re both deer- and rodent-resistant, and they’re as eye-catching as colorful lollypops.
Expect alliums to bloom in late spring.
Some tips for Planting Bulbs:
Remember, plant bulbs as soon as you can after buying them. Bulbs were not meant to stay above ground for long, so get them in the soil as fast as you can! Always plant bulbs before the ground freezes in the fall, so October is a perfect time for Ohio gardeners. Remember: plant bulbs with the pointy end up and water right after planting.
Planting bulbs is an investment in the future, and it always makes spring and early summer full of pleasant surprises. Planting bulbs in the fall is also just practical: you don’t want to have to worry about planting flowers in the springtime when you’re going to be busy enough in the vegetable garden. Ensure a beautiful spring by planting in the fall.