Bulbs: Simple, Rewarding, and Low-Maintenance!

With the cooler weather approaching, check out our our guide about how to plant fall bulbs!


Planting fall bulbs is easier than you might think! By following the simple rules we’ve outlined in this handy ‘How to Plant Fall Bulbs’ guide, you’ll get to experience the wonders of spring flowers bursting to life with minimal effort on your part. Read on to learn about how to plant fall bulbs.


Why Bulbs Are Planted in Fall

Certain bulbs need to be chilled to initiate the growth and blooming processes; this chilling is called vernalization. Vernalization is necessary for most plants in our Iowa climate; think of it as a hibernation period so that our plants can come back more lush and vigorous after a long winter’s nap.


Wallace's garden center planted fall bulbs

What Kind of Bulbs Can I Plant in Fall?

Numerous bulbs can be planted in fall and will bloom at a time that’s specific to the variety. There are three different blooming categories: early spring bloomers, mid spring bloomers, and late spring bloomers. Fortunately, there’s no difference in when to plant these bulbs; they are still planted at the same time in the fall—before the first frost. The only difference is the bulbs’ internal clocks tell them when to bloom, which is either later or earlier than other varieties.  

Some bulbs, like daffodils and tulips, have varieties that belong to all three categories, which is largely why they’re so popular. If you plan your fall bulb planting right, you’ll discover the secret of how to have gorgeous color all season long without lifting a finger! Here are some other fantastic bulbs to plant in the fall.


Early Spring Bloomers

  • Crocus
  • Scilla (Squill)
  • Muscari
  • Spring Snowflake
  • Snowdrop


Mid Spring Bloomers

  • Siberian Squill
  • Chionodoxa Glory of Snow


Late Spring Bloomers

  • Early Lilies
  • Dutch Iris
  • Allium
  • Star of Bethlehem
  • Spring Starflower


Keep in mind that daffodils and tulips belong to all these groups and that it’s just a matter of reading the packet labels to discern which is which. With so many amazing flowers to choose from, the most challenging part will be deciding which bulbs are your favorite!


Wallace's garden center planting fall bulbs

How to Plant Fall Bulbs

There are four main steps to follow when learning how to plant your fall bulbs:

  1. Plant spring-blooming bulbs six weeks before the first frost. In Bettendorf, that’s about the beginning to mid-October. 
  2. Plant them three times as deep as they are tall and two times as wide. For example, if your bulb is two inches tall, you’ll need to plant it six inches deep and four inches between its neighboring bulbs.
  3. There are two sides to your bulb: a rounded side and a pointed side. The pointed side needs to be facing upwards to ensure buds can quickly push their way towards the surface.
  4. Water, water, water. New bulbs are thirsty and will need a good slow soak to make sure they start putting out roots before the ground freezes.


How to Succession Plant Fall Bulbs

We mentioned earlier that there are early spring, mid spring, and late spring blooming plants. A common method of bulb planting is called succession planting, which means choosing bulbs by their bloom time and planting them accordingly. (We’ve given you the “how,” now this is the “why” to plant fall bulbs). By planting various bloom times together, your garden continuously pushes out new flowers resulting in a full, thriving, and low-maintenance garden!


Now that you’ve learned how to plant fall bulbs in Bettendorf, you’ll need to consider the equipment. At Wallace’s Garden Center, we’ve got everything you need from bulb planters, leaf grabbers, shrub rakes, and of course, lots of bulbs! Visit us today.

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