When and how to plant autumn bulbs for a beautiful spring flowering?

Gardeners always wait impatiently for spring because it is a particularly flowery time of the year which, finally, announces a more pleasant weather. But you still have to anticipate it and therefore, plant spring-flowering bulbous plants to enchant your garden with a profusion of flowers of all colors. It is therefore before autumn, and more particularly during September that we set about setting up these very varied plants.

Plant bulb: a reserve organ

Many bulbs are planted at the very beginning of fall so that they have time to stock up. These will allow them to survive the winter and bloom in the spring. The bulb is indeed the underground reserve organ from which the roots develop, but also the stem which will bear the buds.

Bulb is a term under which we also imply the body or even the tuber and the rhizome, depending on the plants in question. Regardless, these are essential organs for accumulating a sufficient stock of nutrients necessary for the survival of these plants and their development.

Planting fall bulbs: September is the ideal month

The early fall is the perfect time to plant the spring-flowering bulbous plants, but latecomers can still stick to it until mid-November. Depending on the plants selected, you can thus take advantage of a more or less early flowering, namely from February as is the case of the Snowdrop for example.

As for the essential tulips, they begin to bloom in March and grace beds, flowerbeds and pots until the end of May due to their staggered flowering. But they are far from being the only ones in this case. It would therefore be a shame to skip the planting season for these popular bulbs.

Planting fall bulbs: the method

Novice gardeners frequently wonder about the direction of planting fall bulbs, the depth to be respected and the watering needs.

Bulb planting direction

It is important not to make mistakes when planting the bulbs, and therefore to know in which direction to position them according to their type. To do well, just remember that the rhizomes, tubers and corms must be positioned skyward bud. As for tulip bulbs, for example, they are planted point in the air.

Depth and spacing

Regarding the planting depth, it should not be too large. It is generally indicated on the sachets in which the famous flower onions are grouped before being marketed. We recommend a height corresponding to twice that of the rhizomes if they are installed in the soil of the garden. A sandier substrate requires a slightly greater planting depth.

It is advisable to take care to sink bulbs and other tubers slightly deeper if these spring-flowering plants are grown in an area with harsh winters. The aim is to protect the reserve organs against severe frosts by sufficient soil coverespecially if it isfrost species.

As for the spacing between two bulbs, it must be respected and is generally indicated on the packaging. In the absence of any indication, you must always take into account the extent that the plants will take in high season and space the bulbs well from each other in the case of fairly large varieties. To get a nice effect, the staggered planting is quite sensible.

The essential bulb planter

The bulbs are planted using a dibber bulb. It is a basic garden accessory, ideal for this type of work. There are different sizes of dibblers, the widest ones being particularly well studied to facilitate the planting of onions of tulips among others.

The use of a bulb dibbler is very simple since it is enough to position it in the desired place then to exert a light pressure on the handle in order to cut then to remove effortlessly a small cone of ground. All that remains is to place a bulb in the hole. We always ensure that it is perfectly in contact with the bottom of the hole. It then remains to fill in with the extracted soil that has been taken care to loosen a minimum, or with a potting soil for bulb plants.


With regard to watering, it is useless at this time of the year unless the temperatures are exceptionally high (still well above 25°C) and the rains have been lacking for some time. In this case, you can water very moderately after planting. It is very important to have more than a light hand in order to avoid rotting. If the climatic conditions correspond well to the season, we simply skip the watering of the autumn bulbs. They’ll do just fine on their own.

Note that a completely different treatment is to be reserved for spring and summer bulbs of course: they need suitable watering.

Spring-flowering bulbous plants: a wide choice

In this category there are a multitude of species and varieties (bulbs, corms, rhizomes, tubers) which hardly require special care. We can therefore have fun without any worries. Here are some ideas for bulbs to plant in the fall to take advantage of their splendid flowering the following spring.

  • Snowdrops (single or double),
  • Crocus,
  • Scylle of Siberia,
  • Ornithogalum,
  • muscari,
  • Cyclamen,
  • Pushkinia du Liban,
  • Snow Glory,
  • Ipheion,
  • Corydalis,
  • Hyacinth,
  • Colchicum,
  • Iris de Hollande,
  • Iris reticulata,
  • Eranthis,
  • Garlic
  • Dichelostemma,
  • amaryllis belladonna,
  • Tulip,
  • Narcisse,
  • Daffodil,
  • Buttercup,
  • Anemone,
  • Fritillaire,
  • Eremurus,
  • Lys…

Whether in the lawnthem driveway curbsthem massive or in planters other containers, spring-flowering fall bulbs are very popular. They can absolutely be planted in small urban gardens or on a balcony. It therefore only remains to take an interest in the needs of the plants in terms of exposure, soil, as well as their height and their size in order to be able to marry them wisely and create a fabulously flowery nature area from the end of winter and throughout spring.

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