Grape Hyacinth in bloom

Planting Fall Bulbs for Spring Blooms

Get an early welcome to spring with tulips, crocus, daffodils, and more when you plant bulbs this fall.

When to plant:

When the overnight temperatures start dropping, around 40°overnights or 6-8 weeks before the ground freezes. You can buy bulbs before this time and we highly recommend it so you’re ready to plant! Store the fall bulbs around 60 to 65 degrees F in a dry area before being planted.

Things to consider when choosing bulbs:

Bloom Time – Read the labels of bulbs to see when they are expected to bloom and you can plant for a succession of blooms through the spring into summer.  This bulb bloom graph from Netherland Bulb Company is showing the planting depth and bloom time for fall planted bulbs to help envision the succession of color.

fall bulb planting bloom times and depths


Where to Plant – First, make sure the soil is well-draining. Bulbs don’t like wet feet or else they may rot. Add amendments like compost or top soil to ensure proper drainage. Try not to plant in low lying areas where water pools and stays wet for awhile. Add Bulb Tone to your soil when you plant to give them proper nutrients before and after blooming.

Most bulbs need full or part sun. Check the bulb packaging to see sun requirements.

Layout –  Bulbs look best in groups. Consider adding them to areas where you already have perennial plants to fill in bare spots. They will brighten that area early spring and then the foliage will be camouflaged by other herbaceous perennials and shrubs as they fill out.

It’s called “naturalizing” when you plant bulbs in sporadic groups throughout your garden to make it look like more natural, like a meadow.

Bloom Colors – You may like a certain color repeated throughout your yard or if you want to dive into color combinations you can go back to what we learned in art class and use color schemes! Analogous, complementary, monochromatic, and split complementary colors are color schemes that you can build with flowers and other plants!

List of Fall Bulbs at Drummers:

Allium – purple pom poms atop wand-like stems.
Crocus – very early color. Some even bloom in snow!
Daffodil (Narcissus) – sunny yellows and white. These are great in groups. Great for forcing.
Grape Hyacinth (Muscari) – purple or pink.
Hyacinth – fragrance that will stop you in your tracks! White, pink, purple. Great for forcing.
Tulip – Huge variety of colors, sizes and bloom times. Have a ball! Great for forcing.

Cornell University actually did tests with planting bulbs with other perennials to see how they looked. Click here to see the results!

while and pink amaryllis blooming

Indoor Amaryllis Bulbs

Planting Amaryllis Bulbs Step-by-Step:

(Click through image gallery for all steps)


  1. Select firm bulbs – the biggest you can find. The larger the bulb, the more blooms it can have. Use any pot, with drainage, that is about 1 to 2 inches wider than the bulb.  Or, try a larger container with several amaryllis. Plant bulbs an inch apart, if planting more than one.
  2. Plant or restart your bulb 8-10 weeks in advance of when you want it to bloom. Plant different varieties, as well as plant in fall and early winter for blooms throughout the winter.
  3. Fill the pot 1/3 to 1/2 full with all-purpose potting soil, set the bulb on top of soil and then fill the pot with soil so the 1/3 to 1/2 of the bulb is exposed.  The soil can be topped with the moss, rocks, or a decorative item.
  4. Water well to settle the soil then water sparingly until active growth is visible. No more than 1/4 cup of water a week. Fertilize at half the recommended strength each time you water.
  5. Place the pot in a warm, sunny (indirect bright light is best) spot and you’ll start to see it growing its flower stalks. you’ll have blooms in about two months. Be patient! You can then move the pot wherever you’d like indoors to enjoy after they are in bloom.