Although spring and summer are usually the hero months for gardening, don't put fall on the back foot. Planting some flowers in the fall is essential for Spring Flowers.
Spring flowers are the most awaited flowers of the year. They bring so much joy and anticipation for sunny and warm days after the winter. Don't skip them!
WHEN to plant
It's important to prepare your planting area before the ground freezes or before the rain turns everything into a big muddy puddle (if you live in the PNW like us).
If you are in zone 5 and below you will want to be prepared to plant very early Spring to extend your season.
If you are in zone 6 and above you should be able to plant in September/October.
Unsure what zone you are in? Check it here.
WHAT to plant
Tulip Bulbs, Ranunculus and Anemone corms and seeds that need a cold period to germinate (cold stratification) should be planted in the fall or very early spring.
Let's get in the details!
Tulip and Narcissus bulbs need 10-12 weeks of cold weather in order to bloom. They are extremely cold hardy and can be planted in any cold hardiness zone! If you are in a climate that doesn't have a stretch of 10-12 weeks of 40F temps, you can pre-chill your tulips and daffodil bulbs in the fridge before planting. New bulbs will need to be planted every year.
Ranunculus and Anemones are flowers that thrive in cool temperatures. The blooms will actually shut down once the weather warms up to 80F degrees. They are best planted in the fall (Zone 6+) or early Spring (Zone 5-). The plants will use this time to establish strong root systems and then produce continuous bloom once spring arrives.
Cold hardy annual plants or "Cool Flowers" love cooler temperatures. They are the first annuals to bloom in the spring and are the most productive plants in the late spring/early summer.
Some biennials and perennials fall into this category as well! By planting them in the fall you are reducing the time you need care for them because most need 365 days of growth before flowering.
My top 4 cool flowers are:
- Poppy Flowers
- Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa)
Again, to be successful consider your zone for proper plant timing. And if the winter turns unexpectedly cold on you, you can try covering up the plants with row cover or a bed sheet to offer additional protection! :)
HOW to plant
Remove any spring and summer garden remains, including plant debris, roots, pest-infested plants, and weeds, to start with a clean slate.
Add some fresh compost or well-rotted manure to restore essential nutrients, minerals, and microbes for the new crops.