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8 Tips for Planting Bulbs in the Fall

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Love the color of spring blooms like hyacinths and tulips? Planting bulbs in the fall for spring blooms is the best way to get the flowers you want in the home garden and flower beds. Find out how to plant bulbs this fall for amazing spring color!

planting bulbs in the fall

Tips for Planting Bulbs in the Fall

Everyone enjoys the colorful beauty of spring flowers, like tulips and daffodils. There’s a reason they’re so popular with florists. However, in order to enjoy the springtime flower show, planting bulbs in the fall is essential. So why not tackle the bulb planting while the weather is pleasant and the leaves are falling? The variety of bulbs, shapes, and colors are seemingly endless, so plan out your flower beds and fill them with beautiful spring-time blooms.

Some popular bulbs to plant for spring blooms are:

Here are some tips for creating your own in-ground or potted spring blooms as soon as the leaves flutter from the trees this fall. affiliate link policy

Tip #1- It’s all about the bulbs

  • For planting bulbs in the fall, or any season, always select bulbs that are firm and plump.
  • Stay away from those that are skinny and look like they’re peeling away.

Tip #2- Location, Location, Location

  • Spring flowering bulbs need 3-4 months of cold temperatures to prepare them for blooming and should be planted in late fall for best results.
  • Select a location that will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight each day.
  • Flower bulbs do best in loose soil that drains well. 

Tip #3- Prepare for the Bulbs

  • Prepare the flower bed by digging down 6 inches and and creating a 50-50 mix of soil and compost to re-fill bed.
  • Dig a hole in prepared soil 3-4 deep. 

Tip #4- Points Up!

  • Place one bulb per hole, pointy side up. If bulb does not have a pointy end, don’t fret, most bulbs will right themselves if planted upside down.
  • Cover bulbs with soil. Water thoroughly.

Tip #5- Don’t Feed Until Spring

  • Do not fertilize planted flower bulbs until spring. They have everything they need to survive the winter. 

Tip #6- Prevention is Key

  • To prevent the bulbs from heaving (bulbs being pushed up and out of the soil by the freezing and thawing of the soil), add a thick layer of mulch on top of the soil. Straw, pine needles, or leaves will help keep the soil a constant temperature and prevent heaving.
  • To prevent squirrels from digging up flower bulbs, lay a piece of chicken wire on top of the soil before adding mulch. Spring flowers can grow up through the chicken wire, but squirrels can’t dig down through it. (Those pesky intruders will be thwarted!)                                                                                                                                                      tips for planting bulbs

Tip #7- Use a Container if Needed

  • Use well-draining potting soil for containers, and plant bulbs the same way mentioned above.
  • Spring flower bulbs planted in containers can be kept as-is in any protected location, like a garage or patio, where the winter temperature will remain between 35 and 40 degrees.
  • Check containers periodically. If the top inch of soil is dry to the touch, add water.
  • In the early spring, place containers in direct sunlight to warm the soil and awaken the spring bulbs to bloom.

Tip #8- Plant Now for Gifts

  • Containers of spring flowers make an ideal gift, so consider planting extra containers this fall.
  • Plant one tulip bulb surrounded by several grape hyacinth bulbs in a small, decorative container.
  • A terra cotta pot filled with daffodil bulbs is the perfect gift to welcome spring.
  • Paper White bulbs are easy to grow in containers and will return for many future springs when properly cared for.                                                                                                planting bulbs in fall

I hope this has inspired you to seize the fall and get your bulbs planted for fabulous spring blooms. Planting bulbs in the fall means a little work now (when the weather is pleasant), but it will reap big rewards come the spring. I’d love to know what bulbs you enjoy planting in the fall! Comment below and let us know!

I'd love to hear from you

Patty Chaballa

Tuesday 14th of September 2021

Do you have advice on tulips that come back the following year or do they all bloom for one year only?


Wednesday 15th of September 2021

Hi Patty! While tulips are technically a perennial and should come back each year; this isn't always the case. For a variety of reasons, tulips can be finicky about blooming again. Here's some good information on varieties that are the most reliable: https://savvygardening.com/perennial-tulips/ Hope this helps!

Kkaren Turner

Sunday 21st of February 2021

I read all your articles about trimming and shaping shrubs. Thanks! I’m doing it correctly but nice to know.


Tuesday 14th of September 2021



Sunday 21st of February 2021

So glad you found them helpful!

Glenda Weaks

Wednesday 10th of April 2019

Thank you I never knew when to plant tulip bulbs


Wednesday 10th of April 2019

You're very welcome!

I'd love to hear from you

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