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Science-based gardening information for Colorado communities from CSU Extension, Denver Botanic Gardens, and Green Industries of Colorado.

1086 – Fall Bulb Planting for Spring Blooms   arrow

Spring flowers

When is the best time to plant bulbs in the fall?

Fall bulb planting is an easy way to jump-start the spring gardening season. At most elevations, the best time to plant bulbs is mid-September to late October, so bulbs can establish roots before the soil freezes.

When is the best time to buy bulbs?

It’s advisable to purchase bulbs in early September for best selection and variety. Choose bulbs that are large and free from disease or decay. To ensure higher quality, pick out bulbs individually.

What soil is best to plant bulbs in?

Bulbs prefer sandy or clay loam soil. In general, plant bulbs at a depth of three to four times the diameter of the bulb. If planting in sandy soil, plant two inches deeper. Small crocus bulbs should be planted more shallowly; large allium or daffodil bulbs should be planted more deeply.

How should I choose bulbs?

Select a variety of bulbs that will provide a long-lasting show in spring. Many suppliers will indicate the bloom time (early, mid or late) and mature height. Choose bulbs of varying heights for each bloom time to prolong color and add interest to the spring garden.

Should I let the foliage die, or remove it?

After plants bloom in the spring, let the foliage die down naturally. The foliage provides energy to the bulb for next season’s bloom.

Because fading bulb foliage is often unattractive, consider planting annuals or tall groundcovers near the bulbs to hide the foliage as it fades.

For more information, see the following Planttalk Colorado™ video(s).

For additional information, see the following Planttalk Colorado™ script(s).

For more information on spring-blooming bulbs, see the following see Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s):

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