Fall Planting: Bulbs For Zone 5 & 6

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Royal Sunset Lily – Gorgeous Color!

FALL PLANTING – BULBS FOR ZONE 5 & 6

Bulbs fill your garden with vibrant color from early spring through late summer into early fall. They are generally very hardy, easy to grow and care for, and will bloom year after year …

As a rule of thumb, bulbs should be planted in the fall in late September or early to mid-October. You want to get the bulbs in the ground about six weeks before the ground starts to freeze in your area. Planting depth is determined by the type of bulb (4 inches deep for crocus, 6 inches deep for hyacinths, 8 inches deep for tulips and iris).

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Spacing is also determined by the type of the bulb, but, in general, plant bulbs about six inches apart. If you prefer a more formal look of rows, you may wish to invest in a bulb planter to make the job easier. If you desire a more natural look, dig a wider hole that can accommodate several bulbs (5 to 10) planted together.

A small amount of fertilizer can be added at the bottom of each hole, then covered with a thin layer of soil so that the bulb is not resting directly on the fertilizer. Bulbs should be placed into the hole pointed end up with the flat rooting side facing down. Cover the holes with soil and give the bulbs a thorough soaking of water. Standing water can rot the bulbs so be sure to choose planting areas that drain well.

Here’s a helpful bulb planting “how to” video…chock full of tips:

Listed below are some of my spring-blooming bulb favorites for zone 5 & 6…other than good ‘ol daffodils and tulips:

Allium: Their distinct globe-like blooms in shades of purples, creams, and pinks make this tall, regal flower stand out. Another plus … Alliums are deer and rabbit resistant! They also make fantastic cut flower displays …

Colchicum: One of the few fall flowering bulbs for Zone 5 & 6 gardens. My favorite is the Waterlily Colchicum with its double flowers of a vibrant lavender pink hue. Bulbs will naturalize for a greater show of color each Autumn season …

Crocus: These cheery flowers are available in white, cream, yellow, lavender and purple shades. While most crocus bloom in early to mid-spring, there are a few that bloom in the fall such as the ‘Saffron’ variety …

Fritallaria: These will be the talk of your garden, as fritallaria are probably the most unusual-looking spring flower you will ever run across. Each exotic plant has a single, strong stalk, topped by large, hanging blossoms, which are crowned by a fringe of leaves …

Hyacinth: Favored for their intense colors and intoxicating fragrance, hyacinths are a staple of the spring garden along with daffodils and tulips. Flower colors include rich magenta and deep purple as well as paler pinks, baby blues, yellows and white. The bulbs are also easy to force into bloom indoors …

Iris: One of my all-time favorites, I’m particularly fond of those in shades of rich purples. Irises, with their fan-like foliage and spectacular showy flowers are easy to grow and will bring a smile to your face. They are versatile, carefree plants that bloom dependably and multiply annually without much help …

Lilies: Lilies truly brighten the garden from mid to late summer with their elegance, height, and expansive array of colors. I recently added ‘Royal Sunset’ to my mix. It’s a lightly fragrant lily in a lovely soft melon orange (see photo at top of page)

Hyacinth Blooming - Must be Spring!

Hyacinth Blooming – Must be Spring!

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Category: Flowering Bulbs

Jackson and Perkins

2 thoughts on “Fall Planting: Bulbs For Zone 5 & 6

    • Hi Janet, Here are some good bulb choices for shade and partial shade areas of the garden:
      Checkered lilies (Fritillaria meleagris, Trout lilies (Erythronium),Bluebells, Crocus, and Giant Allium. I like to plant a mix of perennials and bulbs. Hostas look great with all of the above, as do Epimediums and Heuchera. All are easy to grow in partial shade especially at the feet of trees and shrubs. Hope this helps! ~ Laura

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