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!

Mature blue false indigo in the display gardens at Drummers.

Top 10 Perennials 2019

Back in January of this year, the full-time staff went to the Northern Green Conference up in the Twin Cities for continuing education and to see what is new for this year in landscaping and gardening. One of the more popular sit downs was the Top 10 lists of perennials, shrubs, and trees. Since June is Perennial Gardening Month we thought we’d share the Top 10 Perennials of 2019 decided by Mike Heger. Mike has been in the horticultural industry for over 40 yrs and has even written a book on growing perennials in cold climates.  He of course prefaced the list with saying this was a very difficult list to make and was focusing more on natives and pollinators this year. Check out the quick list of his Top Ten Perennials!

Top Ten Perennials 2019

  1. Baptisia Lactea ‘ White False Indigo ‘. Tough, long-lived plant, and tolerates many different soils and light conditions. Great nectar plant. The Blue False Indigo, Baptista ‘ American Goldfinch ‘, and Baptisia Decadence Series are other Baptisia he mentioned.
  2. Calamintha nepeta ‘ Montrose White ‘ (Catmint). Clump forming mint with long bloom time. Great for bees and hummingbirds love it. Considered a zone 5 but could possibly survive our winters in the right spot.
  3. Clematis ‘ Arabella ‘. A rambling ground cover that can have flowers all summer long. Mike said his bloomed 14 weeks! Bees and Hummingbirds enjoy!
  4. Helianthus ‘ Lemon Queen ‘ (Hybrid Sunflower). Blooms late summer and fall and great for all kinds of pollinators. It’s a great tall, background plant. Blooms 2-2.5 months!
  5. Native Liatris ligulistylis ( Meadow Blazing Star ). It blooms from the top down and monarchs and butterflies love it. Tolerant of many soils and high light. Another good native option is Liatris Pycnostachya.
  6. Nepetax faasenii ‘ Purrsian Blue ‘ Catmint. A low maintenance clumping mint with 4-6 mths of color. The ‘Cat’s Pajamas’ is the shorter version with similar qualities. Will see butterflies, moths, bees, and hummingbirds around it!
  7. Origanum ‘ Rosenkuppel ‘ (Ornamental Oregano). Burgundy blooms June-September and even past September at times. It prefers full sun and no wet feet. It is a zone 5 plant so may not survive winters in southern MN.
  8. Salvia nemorosa ‘ Blue Marvel ‘. This perennial sage has violet-blue blooms and the butterflies and bees flock to it. Other forms of Salvia have white, pinks, and purple blooms and there are plenty of varieties to choose from.
  9. Stachys monieri ‘ Hummelo ‘ Boteny. This is the 2019 Perennial of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association. This perennial tolerates many different soil and full sun to light shade.
  10. Vernonia fasiculata ‘ Common Ironweed’. This native perennial can get up to 6′ tall and is a wonderful nectar plant. Painted lady butterflies love them and are a great plant in the back of the garden due to their height. Their blooms are a bright purple and bloom July, August, and September.