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Planted Your Fall Bulbs Yet? There’s Still Time!

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Nov 11, 2017

Planted Your Fall Bulbs Yet? - Longfield Gardens

Flower bulbs are incredibly forgiving. This fact is driven home to us every year when we start planting fall bulbs in our New Jersey trial garden. We always intend to get this project underway sooner, but have accepted the fact that for us, planting rarely happens before Thanksgiving.

It’s not like we don’t have the bulbs. They arrived from Holland in early August and are waiting patiently in our temperature-controlled warehouse. We’re late for reasons you can probably relate to:

Planted Your Fall Bulbs Yet? - Longfield Gardens

FALL IS BUSY

During the months of September, October and early November, everyone in our office is consumed with processing orders and managing inventory. You may be consumed with your own work commitments, school activities, sporting events or house projects. Planting bulbs just keeps sliding down the list.

THE GARDENS STILL LOOK GOOD

Our trial garden is filled with summer bulbs and hardy perennials that just don’t want to quit. Until we get a frost, there are dahlias and cannas, elephant ears, heuchera, clematis and daylilies. We also have shrubs with colorful fall foliage, ornamental grasses and lush ground covers. When the gardens look good and there are other things that need doing, it’s easy to leave well enough alone.

Planted Your Fall Bulbs Yet? - Longfield Gardens

WE HAVEN’T DECIDED WHAT BULBS TO PUT WHERE

In our trial garden, we are fortunate to have plenty of room for planting bulbs.  The hard part is choosing which bulbs to plant and how to combine them. We have our favorites, but also want to make room for new varieties and combinations (so we can make it easier for YOU to choose). Once the plan is finalized, the planting part goes quickly.

If you find yourself stuck in the what-to-plant-where phase, reading one of these articles may be helpful: How to Plan a Spring Bulb Garden and Landscaping with Spring-Blooming Bulbs.

Planted Your Fall Bulbs Yet? - Longfield Gardens

THERE ARE SOME BENEFITS TO PLANTING LATE

At home, I usually order fall bulbs at least three times between August and November. The first order is for special varieties that may sell out. By ordering early, I make sure the bulbs I want are reserved with my name on them until they’re shipped to me in late September.

The second order is placed in early October, once I am ready to start planting. The final order goes in at the end of the season. At this point, selection is limited, but prices are very low. I use these end-of-season “bonus” bulbs in the cutting garden, for naturalizing and in containers for indoor forcing.

Planted Your Fall Bulbs Yet? - Longfield Gardens

If you garden in zones 6-8, there’s really no reason to plant fall bulbs much before Thanksgiving. All they need is a couple weeks to get their roots established before going to sleep for the winter.

If you live in a colder climate, waiting until November means you’ll need to bundle up and wear some insulated work gloves. But you can plant flower bulbs even when the top inch of soil is frozen. I know. I’ve done it!

So this year, consider giving the Black Friday shopping frenzy a miss. Instead, invest a few hours outdoors, planting bulbs. When spring rolls around and your yard is filled with colorful flowers, you (and everyone else) will be so glad you did! Our end-of season sale runs until early December or while supplies last!

Planted Your Fall Bulbs Yet? - Longfield Gardens

Topics: Fall Planted Bulbs How-To Spring Blooming Bulbs

Kathleen LaLiberte has been writing about gardening for more than 30 years from her home in northern Vermont, where she tends a half acre of flowers, vegetables and fruit. She has been working with Longfield Gardens since 2011.

2 Replies to “Planted Your Fall Bulbs Yet? There’s Still Time!”

  1. Thank you, Kathleen!
    For a novice gardener, like me, this is so reassuring. I have been busy working on planting my bulbs and was so worried that I am too late…
    What a relief!
    Thanks again,
    Vera

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