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Planting Spring Bulbs In The US

By Victoria Fuller

Spring has finally arrived, and with this in mind many people are wondering: is it the right time of year to plant bulbs? Should I have planted them in the Fall months instead? Well today we are going to answer these questions and many more!

Bulbs Growing In A Field

When is the *actual* prime time to plant bulbs?

Any avid gardener will tell you that the optimal time to plant Spring bulbs is in the late Fall or early Winter, this gives the bulbs ample time to acclimate to their soil and develop a sturdy root system. That being said, planting bulb-based botanicals in the Springtime is not impossible if you missed your seasonal window! The time of year that determines the best time to plant your bulbs is totally relative to the type of bulbs that you are growing! For example:

Best bulbs to plant in the Spring (bulbs that do not require a Winter “chilling period” to develop their roots):

-Lilies (gorgeous tropical-looking flowers that grow in a variety of colors to suit any garden style)

Lily Bulbs

-Gladiolus (Flowers with gorgeous vertical reaching petals that look like little bells)

Gladiolus Bulbs

-Ranunculus (Stunning flowers with a tight-nit petal pattern incredibly popular in wedding bouquets)

Ranunculus Bulbs

Best bulbs to plant in the Fall (bulbs that require a “chilling period” in order to succeed):

-Tulips (Beautiful colourful flowers that are one of Holland’s main exports)

Tulip Bulbs

-Daffodils (Often an indicator of the beginning of Springtime, these bright flowers have iconic yellow petals)

Daffodil Bulbs

-Crocus (Gorgeous purple flowers with upward reaching petals)

Crocus Bulbs

Which bulbs should you plant?

There are literally dozens of options when it comes to choosing which bulbs to plant in your garden! Naturally in the Spring time we would recommend choosing the three aforementioned Spring bulb options (Lilies, Gladiolus, and Ranunculus) that tend to bloom later in the season so don’t need to worry about having the Winter time to develop their root systems as thoroughly. If you plant Fall bulbs in the Springtime you will likely not see any blooms until the following year as they require a minimum 12-week chilling period of cold temperatures in order to bloom. This chilling period is essential for the development of strong, healthy roots around your bulb.

Planting Spring Bulbs

How should you plant your bulbs?

Planting bulbs is one of the simplest tasks that you can undertake as a gardener, all you have to do is:

  1. Determine whether or not you should soak your bulbs for a few hours before hand (most bulbs don’t necessarily need to be soaked, but certain varieties such as Ranunculus and Anemones do enjoy a bit of a soak before being planted!). 
  2. Decide where you want to plant your bulbs, we would recommend an area of your garden that gets at least six hours of sunlight per day! 
  3. Once you’ve chosen your spot, dig a hole around 2-3 times as deep as the length of the bulb (so if your bulb is 3 inches long, dig a hole around 6-9 inches deep!) and position your bulbs in the hole with their pointy sides up.
  4. Water your bulbs as soon as they are planted and continue to water them at least 1 inch of water per week (a Cedar Planters raised garden bed would be the perfect vessel for your Spring bulbs with their built in drainage-system!).
Cedar Planters Raised Garden Bed

Planting bulbs in a raised garden bed

A Cedar Planters raised garden bed or planter box would make the perfect cedar flower box for your Spring bulbs! Our raised planter bed covers make a perfect little nest to protect your Fall bulbs if you decided to plant those last season, and if you are getting started this season then the comfortable gardening height, built-in drainage system, and insulating Western Red Cedar will make this the perfect solution for growing your own gorgeous flowers from bulbs!

All in all, where there is a will there's a way when it comes to planting bulbs! In an ideal scenario, planting them in the late Fall and early Winter will likely yield the strongest plants, but planting all year round is definitely an option!

Fall Bulbs Planting

We also want to give a special mention to the bulb vegetables that did not get the recognition they deserved in this blog post! Garlic is one of the most iconic bulb-originating plants there is, but it is worth mentioning that Garlic truly does need its “chilling period” to reach its full potential, late October to early November is the best time to grow this tasty crop. That being said, you can plant Garlic in the Springtime (we won’t tell anyone) but you just might get your feelings hurt if it doesn’t thrive as well as you were hoping and we just can’t handle having that on our conscience.

Are you planning on attempting some Springtime bulb cultivating? We would love to hear any of your techniques for bulb-based success at this time of year!

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