Fall Planted Bulbs | Gardening 101 | Spring Planted Bulbs | Tips & Tricks

When to Plant Flower Bulbs

By | January 23, 2010

What’s all this about Spring Planted Bulbs???

When you think of “flower bulbs” what comes to mind? If you’re like most people, you immediate picture fields of tulips and daffodils, or maybe groupings of hyacinth.

While this idea of bulbs is definitely a correct one, it is also somewhat limited. Did you realize that there are actually two planting seasons for bulbs? These planting seasons are classified as “fall planted” and “spring planted” bulbs.


Fall bulbs are extremely popular and add great color to the spring garden!

Fall planted bulbs, as I mentioned earlier, are definitely the more well-known bulbs in the group. These include your allium, crocus, daffodils, fritillaria, hyacinth, iris, muscari (grape hyacinth), scilla, and of course, the tulips. These bulbs are typically planted sometime between mid-September and mid-December, depending onĀ  your hardiness zone and then bloom the following spring. Many of these bulbs actually require a chilling period (the winter season) in order to bloom and grow correctly. Therefore, gardeners who live in Zones 2 through 7b/8 can grow these without any special care and leave the bulbs in the ground year round. On the other hand, gardeners who live in warmer climates (Zones 8 through 11) and don’t receive this chilling period naturally outdoors, need to provide these bulbs with the cool period artificially, such as in a refrigerator prior to planting every year.


Dahlias are just one of the many amazing spring planted bulbs that can add great color to your late summer and early fall garden.

Spring planted bulbs are somewhat less well-known in the “bulb world” but are just as valuable to the landscape! These bulbs include anemone, begonias, calla lilies, canna lilies, dahlias, elephant ears, gladiolus, oriental and asiatic lilies, and herbaceous perennials. These bulbs are best planted between early March and late May, again depending on the hardiness zone in which you are located and then bloom in the summer and/or fall. Many of these bulbs (with the exception of oriental/asiatic lilies as well as herbaceous perennials) are not frost hardy and therefore need protection or special care during the winter in Zones 2 through 7b/8. However, the gardeners in Zones 8 through 11 can leave most of these bulbs in the ground year-round without the worry of frost damage.

Since the spring planted bulbs are often overlooked but yet have oh-so-much to offer, I figured it might be good to review them. Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to lead you through the land of the spring planted bulbs. Each article will focus on a different type of spring planted (summer/fall blooming) bulbs, highlighting their great qualities as well as pointing out any maintenance tips that may be important. So follow me on this wonderful journey and open your eyes to this wonderful world of spring planted bulbs!

Have a question about when to plant a certain type of bulb or any other bulb gardening topic? Ask Bridget! Email her at bridget@bulbblog.com! If she features your question in a future post, you’ll receive a Holland Bulb Farms coupon for your next order at Holland Bulb Farms!

Need Gardening Help?

If you need any help with gardening or if you have plant-related questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to Jenny San Filippo. She can provide you with the knowledge and tools needed to succeed with your next project!

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