This resource guide for growing flowering bulbs includes forcing bulbs indoors, and planting outdoors in both containers and the ground.
For all the gardening tips by topic, see the Grow index.
Autumn is Bulb Planting Time
Fall is the time to plant garden bulbs, whether you’re forcing them indoors (for tabletop flowers) or planting them outdoors for spring blooms.
There are hundreds of choices and it can get overwhelming. It helps to decide both where you want to grow them (indoors or outdoors), and when you want the blooms (in a number of weeks or in the spring). From there it will be simpler with lots of beautiful options.
Outdoor bulbs can be planted in the ground or in containers (and stored in a cool location for the winter).
Flower Bulb Tips for Beginners
New to planting bulbs?
Spring-flowering bulbs (tulip, daffodil, hyacinth, crocus, Dutch iris, scilla) are planted in the autumn because they require a cool, dormant period (35-45°F or 2-8°C) for several months in order for the plants to produce blooms when the weather warms up.
Without that cool period, you’ll get leaves but no blooms. The post walks you through the basics.
Planting Bulbs in Containers
While it’s very simple to plant bulbs in the ground and let nature take its course, there are some advantages to planting them in containers.
This can stop squirrels and other bulb-eaters and allow you to move the bulbs around as needed for weather protection or display options.
Flowering Bulbs to Plant in Fall
I’ve gathered a list of favorite bulb suggestions for planting outdoors in the fall. Most of these bulbs need to be planted when the soil is 60F/16C or cooler (but not yet frozen) so be sure to get the bulbs you want before first frost.
This article shares bulb ideas for late winter, spring, and summer blooms:
Planting Garlic & More
Fall is also the time to plant garlic bulbs. If you wait until spring, they turn into green onion-like things instead of garlic bulbs.
Indoor bulbs are planted in containers (of course).
Easy (no-chill) Indoor Bulbs
Paperwhites and amaryllis can be forced (induced to bloom) indoors and do not require any pre-chilling. If you’ve got a spot with bright sunlight for the growing process, you’re good to go.
Want a table top display of gorgeous paperwhite blooms or a giant amaryllis for a special occasion?
These forcing calendars help you get the timing just right. There is a free printable if you want to keep copies of the calendars for future reference.
How to Transplant Spring-Flowering Bulbs
Great flowers in an ugly container? It’s fine to transplant them if you take care doing it.
There you go! Lots of options, no matter where you want the flowers.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛