Outdoor Plants, SPRING, FALL
October 7, 2021
Now that temperatures are cooler, it is time to plant your spring bulbs. These little packets of flower power are an excellent choice for adding bold, beautiful colour to your spring garden. With minimal effort, bulbs will reward you year after year with a continuous parade of colour from early spring to the beginning of summer.
For novice gardeners, the choice between bulbs and seeds may be tricky. All bulbs start out as seeds. Seeds are new plants that have not yet grown, where bulbs have completed the growing phase. They are plants that live under the ground but are visible above the ground when their leaves grow up through the surface. Bulbs are the entire life cycle of a plant from beginning to end, where seeds are only the final stage of a plant’s reproduction.
While every garden is unique, almost all bulbs prefer full sun (at least 6-hours per day) and well-draining soil. There are hundreds of varieties and colours of bulbs from which to choose. Think about your favourite patterns of colour combinations and consider when the bulbs will flower, whether early, mid-, or late season. With a little bit of planning, you can have bulbs just starting to open as others finish for an ongoing show of flowers. Regardless of what you choose, be sure to start with high-quality bulbs that are plump and firm.
Daffodils, crocuses, snowdrops, tulips, hyacinths, irises, and alliums are the stars of the Fall bulb show, each with its unique charm and allure. Fall bulbs, aptly named for their autumn planting, lie dormant through the cold months, waiting to surprise you with their vibrant blooms as spring arrives. Often perennial by nature, these bulbs establish their roots during the cooler, moist fall days, creating a solid foundation for the spectacle they’ll unveil in the warmer months.
Many types of bulbs can be planted together to create a multi-level and multi-colour effect in your garden. Plant them in big, irregular groupings of at least five to seven per square foot, rather than in straight rows. This will allow them to have enough space to grow properly while creating showy clusters of flowers. It’s OK if some bulbs end up being closer to each other than the recommended spacing from the package – this will create a more natural look.
Planting spring bulbs isn’t just about looks; it provides a hearty meal for early pollinators like drowsy queen bumblebees, giving them the energy they need after a long winter. By choosing the right bulbs and planting them strategically, you’re adding beauty to your garden and providing a vital food source for these essential insects.
To ensure a successful spring bulb display, timing and technique are essential. The best planting window is when soil temperatures fall below 15 degrees (Celsius), typically in the late fall or about six weeks before the first hard frost. Remember, bigger bulbs often yield more flowers, so opt for higher-quality specimens that are firm, fresh, and free from signs of brittleness, rot, or mold.
Upon purchasing your bulbs, plant them immediately or store them in a cool, dark, and dry location with temperatures around 15 to 18 degrees (Celsius). Beware of temperatures above 21 degrees (Celsius), as they could potentially harm the developing flower buds.
Now that you have chosen the bulbs for your garden, you may wonder which way is up? Bulbs should be planted pointed side up. If you don’t see a pointy side, look for where it appears that the roots come out—that end goes down. Dig a hole approximately two to three times as deep as the diameter of the bulb. This will give it adequate coverage over the winter months and allow it to emerge easily in the spring. If you are unsure, plant the bulb on its side. Be sure to give your bulbs a good watering after you plant them to encourage them to spread roots and become established. This can also help eliminate air pockets in the soil that could cause your bulbs to dry out.
While all bulbs are perennials that will repeatedly bloom with the proper care for up to 5 years, there is also a category of bulbs that will naturalize. These bulbs bloom year after year, and over time, the flowers increase as they, in turn, produce more bulbs. Snowdrops, crocus, iris and some varieties of tulips make ideal choices for gardeners who want to add naturalizing bulbs.
You can often find the bright green shoots of spring bulbs poking through the final patches of snow in the last days of winter. From crocuses and snowdrops to tulips and allium, bulbs can turn your garden into a flower factory of vibrant colour through all the stages of spring.
Click here to shop our collection of Fall Planting Bulbs for stunning Spring blooms.
With careful selection, thoughtful planting, and a touch of gardening magic, you’re setting the stage for a breathtaking display that will awaken your garden from winter.
Shop online or in-person at our eight garden centres to get all the supplies and bulbs required for your fall planting!
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