Plant bulbs in fall and you can enjoy numerous flowers at a later date – often the following spring. Spring flowering bulbs are often planted in the autumn and kept indoors or in a sheltered position (protected from squirrels and other rodents) until they bloom the following year.
Here are 15 bulbs to plant in fall that you may like to consider:
Both edible and ornamental member of the Allium, or onion family are grown from bulbs that can be planted in the fall. Both onions and garlic are commonly planted in around September or October for overwintering. Ornamental allium bulbs are also planted at around the same time, to flower in the spring the following year.
Technically growing from rhizomes or tubers rather than bulbs, but colloquially often called ‘bulbs’, spring-flowering anemones are also planted in the fall. There are woodland types that like some shade and Mediterranean types that do best in full sun. Some are hardier than others and some can be ‘forced’ for early displays of blooms inside your home.
Hyacinthoides non-descripta, the English bluebell, is a beautiful woodland plant ideal for use within its native European range, though potentially invasive in areas where it is not a native. The Spanish bluebell, Hyacinthoides hispanica is one other bluebell to grow. There are also other ‘bluebells’ such as Italian bluebells within the same genus. All can be grown from ‘bulbs’ planted in the fall.
Another favourite spring bulb, crocus can come in a range of different colors. There are also autumn flowering types, and specialist types which, like the spring-flowering crocuses, are planted in the fall. These compact plants do just as well in containers as they do in the ground – perhaps as part of a ‘bulb lasagna’ planting display alongside other spring bulbs. Though technically, like many others on this list, the plants grow from ‘corms’ not ‘bulbs’.
Daffodils (Narcissus) are among the most popular spring-flowering bulbs. These are best planted either in the ground in a garden or in pots in early fall. Daffodil bulbs should ideally be planted before the end of September. Though October can also be fine as long as you get to the job as soon as you can. Indoors, some Narcissi can be forced to bloom early in the winter.
Snake’s Head Frittilary, Fritillaria meleagris, is a bulbous perennial plant with patterned bell-shaped flowers with checked patterns. They are usually purple hued but there are also white cultivars. Be very careful when planting the bulbs as they are fragile. Plant these bulbs in fall, either in containers or in the ground.
7. Glory of the Snow
Formerly Chionodoxa but now usually classified as Scilla, ‘glory of the snow’ are bulbous perennials native to eastern Europe around the Mediterranean. They bloom very early, often in late winter and very early spring. These too are usually planted in September or October.
8. Grape Hyacinths
Muscari, or grape hyacinths as they are commonly known, are another great group of spring-flowering plants. These can also work well in containers or in the ground. They produce spikes of dense, most commonly blue, urn-shaped flowers resembling bunches of grapes in the spring.
Hellebores, or Christmas rose, are planted from fall to early spring, in moist but free-draining soil. Many are evergreen, and they flower from late winter to spring. Most Hellebores are shade tolerant, thriving in partial or dappled shade conditions. They can be another good choice for pollinators early in the year.
Bulb irises are reliable plants to grow many gardens. They do best in a sunny position and can cope with a range of different soils or growing media. There are numerous varieties to choose from, some of which bloom between February and March, and some which bloom in May or June. Irises are typically planted between September and November, but ideally in the earlier part of the fall.
Oxalis bulbs are often planted undercover in autumn for indoors cultivation as houseplants. Or for transplantation into the garden in spring. There are a few different types to choose from whether you are growing them indoors or outside in a garden.
Saxifraga bulbs should be planted in the autumn, ideally in September or October. There are hundreds of different species in this genus to choose from that can make good container plants, or which will do well in a dry meadow, rock garden or alpine garden.
Scilla are bulb-forming, herbaceous perennials in the Asparagaceae plant family. Often called squills in English, they are native to woodlands, meadows and coastal seashores. These can be a good choice for groundcover in some areas – but note that they can be invasive in some areas.
Snowdrops are often among the earliest flowers to bloom in a garden, often blooming while winter is still very much in full flow. These too are planted in the fall, typically in the ground in a shady spot below deciduous trees, though container cultivation is also possible.
Tulips flower later than many of the other spring-flowering bulbs to plant in fall listed here. They can prolong the duration of spring displays in containers or in beds or borders considerably. There are numerous early, mid and late season tulips to plant, in a range of wonderful hues.
These are definitely not the only bulbs to plant in fall. But they are among the best options for many gardeners to consider.