Achieve Non-Stop Blooms with Fall-Planted Bulbs

Flowering bulbs come in a wide variety of species, colors, and plant habits. Compared to other plantings, bulbs are low-maintenance, requiring just one or two initial waterings around planting time. The reward for this small effort is nearly carefree flowers that return year after year, with some species more likely to naturalize than others.

Depending on the species and variety, fall-planted bulbs bloom from late winter to early summer. This means, as growers, we can incorporate bloom time into our landscaping plan to achieve impressive results! For the best bulb pairings, note the bloom time listed for each variety: this will make it easier to sync or stagger blooms depending on your needs. Find an outline of bloom times below with planting instructions at the bottom of this post.


Our first-to-bloom bulb varieties may be diminutive, but they fill the heart as the ice and snow melts. Low-growing Snowdrops are often the very first to emerge, with Crocuses and Rock Irises right on their heels. Winter Aconite's sunny yellow flowers and adorable green collars appear in late winter, and can be seen blooming in the snow. 

Other early spring blooms include bubblegum pink and purple Corydalis, as well as white and blue-violet Hyacinthoides, while Rock Iris 'Painted Lady' will wow you with its striking blue-violet and pale lemon petals. 

Many of these varieties will naturalize quite readily, including Fritillaria uva-vulpis, which forms the most darling maroon-and-gold bells.


The show really takes off in mid-spring, with a fireworks display of showstopping Tulips and Narcissus, as well as Muscari, Wild Hyacinth, Trout Lily, and Anemone. Less common but just as exquisite this time of year, you'll find pale pink Alpine Squill, bright sprays of blue Chionodoxa, and tall, burgundy-black spires of Fritillaria persica

One of the most adaptable and easy-to-grow varieties for mid-spring bloom is Ipheion uniflorum 'Alberto Castillo.'

Some of our most exciting additions to the mid-spring grouping are Narcissus 'Tête Bouclé' (left),a miniature, full-double, fragrant variety; Tulip 'Pretty Princess,' a two-toned, symmetrical beauty; and 'Tulip Rococo Parrot,' a true-red variety flecked with multi-colored markings.


For late spring to early summer color, look to Dutch Irises, Bearded IrisesAlliums, and Asiatic Lilies

With their elegant, architectural blossoms and streamlined foliage Dutch Irises look right at home in almost any garden, and Bearded Irises bring fragrance as well as drama. Alliums bloom as bright puffballs of color, and the larger globe style Alliums dry nicely too, adding a sculptural effect to the landscape. The large, long-lasting blooms of Asiatic Lilies pair well with wildflowers and other perennials.

Some favorite new additions to this grouping include: Bearded Iris 'Grand Canyon Sunset' (left) with its rich color and distinctive markings; Allium 'Ostrowskianum' in bright pink; and Dutch Iris 'Pink Panther' in lavender-pink.

With fall-planted bulbs, every seasonal shift is an opportunity to show the garden in a new light. With bloom time taken into consideration, the garden can have color from late winter and into early summer. And there's even an autumn-blooming crocus that brings us full circle: Crocus sativus, aka 'Saffron Autumn Crocus', has striking red stigmas that can be harvested for your own home-grown saffron spice! 

Now that you know all about bloom time, we hope you're inspired to grow more fall-planted bulbs. Find a brief overview of bulb planting basics below.


The ideal planting time is when nighttime temperatures are around 40-50°F, or about six weeks before the ground freezes. For us here in the Northeast, plant in October for maximum success. Early to mid-November is also okay. Most spring bulbs need a chilly period to bloom, so don't worry too much about getting them in the ground early or before your first frosts; however, after the ground has frozen, it can be difficult to get the bulbs established well enough to stay rooted during freeze-thaw cycles during winter.

Always plant bulbs into well-draining soil. Heavy clay soils often lead to rot. Pay close attention to spacing and depth requirements, but don't worry too much about fertility: average garden soil can lead to great flowers. If you're spacing very tightly and harvesting for flowers year after year, you'll want to apply a bit of compost and/or mulch, but other than that, amendments are rarely required unless you plant in exhausted soil. And if you do choose to fertilize, you can wait until the spring, since the dormant bulbs won't need it over the winter.