Plan Now for Spectacular Spring Color
Fall is the perfect time to start planning and planting for spring blooming bulbs – a great addition to any landscape.
With a wide variety of flowering times, plant heights, shapes and the brilliant colors bulbs bring to your landscape, there’s endless possibilities to enhance the look of your landscape in spring. These bulbs include tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, crocus and many others.
The cooler weather in the fall makes the planting process a little easier without the scorching sun beating down on you, and the these cooler temperatures make a perfect environment for these bulbs. Side note – The Fall is a great time for new plantings and for lawn rejuvenation as well! We digress…
Before you go off and randomly start digging holes throughout your yard, here are key steps to take note of for planting bulbs.
Think About Varieties, Color and Spacing
Spend a few minutes to plan which bulbs you’re going to purchase and where you’re going to plant them. This will ensure you obtain the proper quantity of bulbs and the varieties you want.
The spacing and the colors are important to create a landscape that is pleasing to the eye. Whether you draw a simple sketch on a cocktail napkin or have a landscape architect create a plan for you – or something in between – a plan goes a long way to get the desired results you are looking for. Also, if you have something on paper, you’ll know exactly where your bulbs are when they are not in bloom. This knowledge will help with any future landscaping projects that come up. Then you will know where your bulbs are and you will be able to adjust where you put your herb garden, outdoor living space, or any other landscape feature without disturbing those bulbs.
The Planting Possibilities are Endless
There are several varieties of spring blooming bulbs. Keep in mind, these bulbs bloom at different times so be sure to plant accordingly so you have vibrant colors throughout your yard. Tulips, for example, are usually large and brightly colored, generally red, pink yellow or white and often have different colored blotches at the base and can be 4” to 28” high. Their flower buds are almost perfectly symmetrical and are typically in bloom for 3-7 days.
Another great choice are daffodils, these are usually white or yellow with a distinct trumpet-shaped flower. Daffodils come in all sizes depending on the variety, generally they are 6” to 20”, but the dwarf variety can be as short as 2”. Daffodils can flower anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months depending on the growing conditions and are extremely tolerant to colder temperatures, one of the few plants that can grow through the snow.
Hyacinths are highly fragrant flowers that bloom in dense clusters. They can grow to be 6” to 12” tall and come in a multitude of colors including white, peach, orange, salmon, yellow, pink, red, purple, lavender and blue. Hyacinths will bloom at the same time as your daffodils, and once the leaves start to show, it will take another 3 weeks for the flowers to open. March 7th is World Hyacinth Day, so celebrate with all the other hyacinth lovers. The well known grape hyacinth is a tiny bell-shaped flower on tall stems that are usually 4” to 8” tall. These flowers are usually deep blue, but can be found in other colors.
Emerging crocuses are a sure sign spring is on the horizon. These bulbs will bloom the earliest in the spring and can reach 8” to 12” tall and just like most bulbs, come in a variety of colors. The most common are yellow, mauve, white or lilac. Being one of the most popular bulbs, their cup-shaped flower are a mainstay in the spring and are unmistakable in your landscape, you never can have too many.
These are only a few of the bulbs available to you and your imagination. Whether you want a multitude of colors through your landscape or you want to highlight you favorite one, take the time and choose accordingly. These bulbs will flower for years to come and are a sure sign spring is in the air. Research different combinations of bulbs and create a landscape that is visually attractive, with so many choices, you can’t go wrong.
The Period to Plant is Approaching!
Now that you have the bulbs you want to plant, spring flowering bulbs must be planted in the fall when the ground is cool, but before the ground freezes.
Bulbs root best in cool soil and once rooted will naturally be resistant to freezing. There is a window that represents the ideal timing to get bulbs into the ground so that energy reserves within the bulbs are managed for maximal survival rate and to allow for the biochemical process that produces the flower in the spring.
Even if you’re late in planting or the winter showed up earlier than expected, you can take some steps to ensure your investment is not wasted. These bulbs are living plants and will dry out if you wait too long and they won’t make it to the next fall season. So if it’s possible, get them planted in the ground, they will try and bloom no matter how late in the season it is, but your results might not be what you hoped for.
Time to get down and dirty and start planting. If you have a plan ahead of time you have an idea of where all your awesome bulbs are going to go. If you skipped that step or maybe you’ll map that out later (so you know where things are) here are some ideas and helpful tips:
Most bulbs do best in full sun, with at least 6 hours a day. But don’t be fooled by the sunshine when you are planting. The sun will be at a significantly different angle in the spring than in the fall when you are planting. Also, any deciduous trees (trees that shed their leaves at the end of a growing season) will be leafless letting in plenty of sun, so plan accordingly.
Do not plant bulbs under evergreens, they will not have enough light to grow and bloom. It is ok to plant under deciduous trees or shrubs, because the early blooming bulbs will have plenty of light to start growing before the tree or shrub starts to leaf out for the season.
If you’re planting near other blooming woody ornamentals, select colors that work in a complimentary way with the existing plants. Be sure to select bulbs to match the blooming dates of the ornamental to get that full color contrast.
If you're looking to add a splash of color to an evergreen planting that might be around your house, plant a selection of bulbs in front of them. Shrubs that tend to be darker in color will create a nice backdrop for the vibrant colors of the flowering bulbs.
To add some interest to a vegetable or herb garden, plant some low growing bulbs to create a border and add a vibrant accent color.
A border of bulbs planted along the edge of the lawn will not only create definition to your lawn but will add a splash of color to the lawn area. Because bulbs typically bloom before your grass starts to grow, you’ll have some vibrant colors to showcase before your lush green lawn emerges.
Other things to keep in mind when planting bulbs
One variety or color in large grouping will have a greater visual effect, which is pleasing to the eye.
Do not to plant in a singular straight row or a circle. Because, like any plant, your bulbs will naturally grow in a somewhat unexpected, irregular pattern.
If planting in a small area, one color will have a greater impact and make the space look larger.
If you’re planting in a large area with multiple colors, group the bulbs for each color together so the whole area blends together like an orchestra of flowers.
White flowers in between your groupings are a great way to blend lighter and darker color flowers together.
Consider the heights of the bulbs when planting. Taller blooming bulbs should be in the back, while the shorter ones in the front. The shorter ones need to be viewed up close to appreciate their beauty and detail, so don't let them get lost behind the taller varieties.
Weather will play a major role on how early or late your bulbs will start blooming, but they will always bloom in sequence based on what variety they are.
With the vast variety of bloom colors, flowering times, plant heights and shapes, bulbs are a perfect addition to any and possibly every landscape.
Start planning for summer blooming bulbs while you’re planting your spring bulbs in the fall. Summer bulbs will begin to flower mid-summer and continue through the first frost keeping the color of your landscape for most of the growing season.
Need Help Getting started?
Contact us for an onsite consultation or to schedule a bulb planting this fall for spectacular colors next spring!