Landscape Articles

Fall Bulb Planting Tips for Massachusetts

Anne Marie DiMatteo | 15 September, 2012 | Landscaping Tips


Make your yard the envy of the neighborhood next spring by planting spring-flowering bulbs this fall. Planting bulbs now will extend your garden lifetime next season with early blooms in the spring.

We have a few tips for fall bulb planting:

1. Smart bulb planting starts at the garden center with high-quality bulbs. Look for those that are plump and firm. Also look for big bulbs; the bigger they are, the more they generally bloom compared to smaller bulbs of the same variety.

2. Even healthy bulbs will fail if they're planted in the wrong location. Most bulbs do best in full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun a day) and well-drained soil. Make sure to plant bulbs at the right time of year. Spring-blooming bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils should be planted in September or October, when the soil temperatures have cooled. Summer-blooming bulbs are best planted in the spring, after all danger of frost has passed.

3. It is a general rule of thumb that when planting bulbs, dig a hole two to three times deeper than the bulb is tall. So for 3-inch-tall bulbs, dig a hole 6 to 9 inches deep. If the bulb has a pointed end, that's usually the side that faces up. If you don't see a pointy side, look for where the roots come out and plant that end down.

Enjoy selecting and planting your bulbs this year! Make sure to spread 3-4 inches of mulch on top of the newly planted bulbs in order to protect them from squirrels digging them up; and to keep the weeds away!