Fall Planting: Bulbs For Zone 5 & 6

Fall Planting Bulbs in Zone 5

Royal Sunset Lily www.FlowerChick.com

Royal Sunset Lily – Gorgeous Color!


Why do we plant spring-flowering bulbs in the fall? These spring beauties are what we call “dormant perennials.” They need the cool, moist autumn soil to awaken them from their dormancy so they can begin growing roots in preparation for the spring show.

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 for you …

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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Most bulbs will do best with a planting depth of 3x their height. This depth keeps temperatures even, which encourages the bulb to form strong roots and flowers. It also ensures that the bulb responds at the right time of year, going dormant in fall and emerging in spring at the appropriate time. You may want to plant an inch or two deeper if you experience extremely cold winters.

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.

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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:


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


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 …

Water Lily Colchicum by FlowerChick.com

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 …

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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 …


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 …


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 …

Plant These Bulbs For A Beautiful Spring Flower Show … Click Here To View


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 near top of page)

Fall Planting Bulbs For Zone 5 & 6

Hyacinth Are Blooming – It Must Be Spring!


In summary, flower bulbs can fill your garden with vibrant color from early spring through late summer and into early fall. Theses hardy, easy to grow, fall planting bulbs are low maintenance wonders which will bloom year after year … plant them now to enjoy next growing season!

They need the cool, moist autumn soil to awaken them from their dormancy so they can begin growing roots in preparation for the spectacular spring show.  Try a variety of bulbs for a colorful, cheerful mix – it’s always a joy to see them pop up after a cold, bleak winter.

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