Best Time to Plant Spring Bulbs: Everything You Need to Know

Best time to plant spring bulbs

For a colorful garden, you will need some spring bulbs. They got the name because they bloom in the springtime and not because they should be planted in the spring season.

When is the best time to plant spring bulbs? Read on to find out.


Find Out More About Bulbs


A bulb got its name because it has a fleshy or bulbous structure at the bottom. 

The bulbous part is a storage structure for the plant. It’s called a storage structure because it is there that the plant keeps its complete life cycle. 

What does it mean?

This bulb will have nutrients for the plants to ensure that they will grow healthy and will survive for quite some time. 

Spring bulbs are perennials, which mean they last for years. 

There are actually five kinds of bulbs based on their storage structures:

  1. True bulbs
  2. Corms
  3. Rhizomes
  4. Tubers
  5. Tuberous roots

Here’s the difference

All those five types of plants are called bulbs. But only one of them is a real bulb, hence, the name true bulbs. 

Let’s talk about true bulbs

True bulbs are further divided into two types: tunicate and imbricate. 

The former is characterized by its paper-like covering that serves as protection. The imbricate doesn’t have that paper-like covering. 

Generally

True bulbs are defined by their major parts: basal plate, fleshy scales, tunic, shoot, and lateral buds. 

The paper-like covering mentioned in tunicates is called a tunic. 

What are examples of true bulbs?

  • Allium
  • Daffodil
  • Hyacinth
  • Lily
  • Tulip
Daffodils

Other examples of springs bulbs, in general, are the following:

  • Anemone
  • Begonia
  • Caladium
  • Crocus
  • Dahlia
  • Gladiolus
  • Lily of the valley
  • Oxalis
  • Potato

Further

There are also two major types of bulbs in terms of seasons:

  1. Spring bulbs:
  • Allium
  • Crocus
  • Daffodil
  • Hyacinth
  • Iris
  • Tulip

2. Spring bulbs:

  • Caladium
  • Elephant Ear
  • Gladiolus
  • Lily

For this article

We will be talking about spring bulbs. 

Spring bulbs are the earliest flowers you see bloom every year. In fact, some of them will start flowering as early as January. 

Yep! They do it even before spring

The amazing part about it is that they bloom even with minimal care. 

They are also versatile

You can plant spring bulbs on flower beds or in the lawn. You may also grow them in pots. 

You may also plant spring bulbs around trees as accents. 

This way

Beauty will surround you no matter how. 

Plant in bloom

Best Time to Plant Spring Bulbs


Spring bulbs bloom from late winter (January) to early summer. 

Of course, that will all depend on the species. 

Although

Most are at their best during spring, hence, the name. 

The best part is that they will continue to grow for a period of time. 

However

They will become dormant from late summer to autumn. 

By late autumn and during winter, the spring bulbs start blooming again. 

Now, the question is this:

When is the best time to plant spring bulbs?

Since it is largely dependent on the species that you plan on planting, you should really do your research first. 

It’s like this

When you know the ideal time to plant a specific species of spring bulb, the growth will be better. 

You will be assured of a healthier plant.

Plus

There is also your region’s weather to consider. 

The general climate of your region is a characteristic that needs to be considered in order to determine the best time to plant a spring bulb.

Here’s a rule of thumb

If you want to be more generic about it, you can plant spring bulbs in the autumn season, between September and October. 

It will develop during the rest of autumn as well as during winter. 

Why plant during autumn season?

The soil is at its best temperature to house the bulb to be planted. 

You want the ground to be cool. 

When spring comes

Your garden will be its most beautiful with colorful flowers growing about.

 

Planting crocus

Here’s the deal

Crocus, daffodils, hyacinths and tulips need to be exposed to the cold for three months or so. 

The cold will encourage root growth and will allow them to have beautiful flowers when the time comes for them to bloom. 

On the other hand

They can’t be planted during winter because the ground will be freezing. 

As such, the roots will not develop as they should. 

Another important note

You can’t plant them too early in the autumn either. 

What happens is that they might sprout too early and will be met with winter when they should be dormant. 

That’s why

Research about your plant and when the best time to plant that specific species so that they will have the best spring bloom. 

If you want to just play it by ear (or touch), just make sure that the ground is cool enough but not freezing. 

What if the ground is already freezing?

Then pot the bulb. 

Plant them in pots and just transplant them once they have sprouted. 

Or you can leave them in the pots if you want. If you do, please use the large pots or containers. 

Potted hyacinth

Tips in Planting Spring Bulbs


Planting spring bulbs seems pretty clear-cut. 

As long as you plant them at the appropriate time and you have the right soil for gardening, then you are set to go. 

Still, there are some tips to make sure that they grow healthy and beautiful. 

1. Plant the right bulbs

You have to be discerning when you plant the bulbs. 

The healthier they are, the healthier and more beautiful your flowers will be. 

So, how do you choose the bulbs?

You need to look for high-quality bulbs. You will know that you have a good one when it is firm. 

Hold the bulbs. If they are soft, then they are not good. 

Don’t get me wrong

They will still grow and bloom but may not be the beauty you would expect them to be. 

Also, find some big ones. 

You know what they say

Big bulbs make big flowers. 

Okay, not sure they really say that. However, big bulbs really do bloom more. 

2. Plant at the right spot

The actual bulbs may thrive in colder ground but they actually need at least six hours of sunlight. 

Also, make sure you have good drainage in the place where you plant the bulbs. 

3. Depth should be at least 2x the height of the bulb

Give the bulb enough breathing space below the ground. 

This means the depth of the hole should be two to three times the height of the bulb.

In other words

If you have a two-inch bulb, you need to dig a four- to six-inch-deep hole.

 

Lady digging

4. Provide proper care

This is a given, of course. 

Unlike many other plants, spring bulbs don’t need to be babied. 

What does this mean?

They need care but they don’t need too much. 

Basically

You just need to provide them with the basic care you give regular plants. 

Water them!

Duh! Just like most plants, spring bulbs need to be watered regularly. 

As earlier mentioned, they also need to be exposed to sunlight at least six hours a day. 

In fact

You need to make sure this happens before you even start planting. You need to plan out and find the space where sunlight exposure is best. 

On the other hand, if you plant the spring bulbs in containers, then you make sure they get ample sunlight especially if they are kept indoors. 

Although

Plants as beautiful as spring bulbs deserve to be seen!

5. Remove the weeds

This is a major part of providing proper care for plants. 

For emphasis, let’s discuss this part separately. 

No! No! No!

Weeds are a definite no-no. 

For obvious reasons, they are ugly! They will steal the thunder of the spring bulbs. 

Speaking of stealing

Weeds also steal nutrients from the plants. 

Weeds compete for attention and nutrients. When they are around, some of the vitamins and nutrients that should go to the plants will go to them. 

Hyacinths in forest

Summary


When spring bulbs bloom, it’s like the best thing that ever happened to your yard. They are just exquisite! They are colorful and a feast for the eyes. They are not hard to grow, too. You just need the basic knowledge to make it bloom the way they should. 

What is that specific knowledge? You have to know the best time to plant spring bulbs. They are called spring bulbs because they are supposed to bloom between March and June. Although, some bloom as early as January. 

The best time to plant them is in the autumn–that would be around September to October. This means that the ground is cool but not freezing. This is the best climate for the spring bulbs to develop their roots. By spring, they blossom! 

However, there is something that you also need to consider. Different species thrive in different circumstances. The best way is always to plant the spring bulb according to its needs. This needs research.

If you are planting spring bulbs in the autumn then you should know about these autumn gardening tips.

Useful Resources

  • 6 Easy-to-Grow Bulbs for Beautiful Spring Flowers – The Spruce
  • 19 Facts Every Tulip Love Should Know – Country Living
  • Daffodils: Signs of Spring – Kew
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