This handy list of bulbs to plant in fall is organized by bloom times. Pick selections that flower in late winter, spring, and summer for continuous blooms.
If you are new to this, see how to plant flower bulbs for the best beginner tips.
Planting Bulbs in Fall
Fall is the time to plant flower bulbs that will offer continuous blooms from late winter into spring and then summer. We plant these cold-hardy bulbs at this time of year because they need cold temperatures to stimulate flowering later on.
Most of these selections are suitable for hardiness zones 4 to 8 where we have four-seasons and a cool winter.
Planting generally takes place during September, October, and November, just before the ground freezes.
Before you shop, be sure to check your bulb choices suit your growing conditions (soil, water, light) and plant hardiness zone (how cold it gets each winter).
Once you’ve planted them, there is no further care required.
Also check that none of the selections are invasive or too aggressive in your area. When it comes to plants, there can be too much of a good thing if they crowd out other vital native and adapted plants.
- Blooms Season By Season
- 25 Flower Bulbs To Plant In Fall
Blooms Season By Season
I’ve listed the recommended bulbs (below) by the season they flower in. This way you can plan your selections to ensure those blooms just keep coming.
In cold climates, it’s the flowering bulbs like snowdrops and crocuses that start the show in late winter.
Alliums are a top favorite for gorgeous, tall, dome-like flowers in spring and the bees love them.
Crocosmia and lilies can be show-stoppers in summer.
I have linked to examples of these bulbs on affiliate sites. I always recommend finding reliable local sellers you like and trust and give them your business if possible.
Find Your Frost Dates & Hardiness Zone
- Plant Hardiness Zones | United States | Canada
These are listed on seed packets and plant tags to guide your choices.
- Average Frost Dates | Use this calculator at Almanac.com. Enter your city and state or province to find your first and last frost dates and number of frost-free days.
20 Flower Bulbs to Plant in Fall
There are 5 basic types of bulbs so you may see any of these terms used on the packaging:
• True bulbs (which we just call ‘bulbs’)
• Tuberous roots
I’ve listed the lowest hardiness zone each bulb tolerates but there are always exceptions so check your labels before you buy.
These all get planted in fall and bloom at different times from late winter onward.
Late Winter & Early Spring Flowering Bulbs
- Glory of the Snow Chionodoxa (zone 3, bulb)
- Snowdrop Galanthus (zone 3, bulb)
- Winter Aconite Eranthis* (zone 4, tuber) *Invasive in natural areas – check for your region.
Spring Flowering Bulbs
- Allium (zone 5, bulb). Bees love them. Deer and rabbits avoid them.
- Anemone (zone 4, tuber)
- Corn Lily (zone 6, corm)
- Crocus (zone 7, corm) Get Giant Dutch crocus if you want bigger flowers.
- Crown Imperial Fritillaria (zone 3, bulb). Many animals don’t like the scent of the bulbs and stay away.
- Cyclamen (zone 5, tuber)
- Daffodil Narcissus (zone 4, bulb) . Many daffodils are undesirable to squirrels, deer, and rabbits.
- Hyacinth (zone 3, bulb)
- Peacock Flower Caesalpinia pulcherrima (zone 8, corm)
- Siberian Squill Scilla siberica (zone 3, bulb) – Check if invasive in your area.
- Snowflake Leucojum (zone 4, bulb)
- Star of Bethlehem Ornithogalum (zone 4, bulb)
- Trillium (zone 4, rhizome)
- Tulip (zone 3, bulb)
Summer Flowering Bulbs
- Crocosmia (zone 7, corm)
- Dutch Iris (zone 5, bulb)
- Grape Hyacinth Muscari (zone 4, bulb)
- Iris (zone 4, bulb)
- Lily (zone 4, bulb)
Fall Bulb Planting Tips
Once you have your bulbs, the optimum time to plant them in fall is when soil temperatures are steady around 60°F/16°C or a bit cooler and before consistent frosts have set in.
The 7 Beginner Tips for Planting Fall Bulbs walk you through everything you need to know.
You can plant bulbs in the ground or in containers. Containers will need extra protection from rain, snow, and freezing temperatures during the colder months.
And, because bulbs are food for critters, you will also want to find humane ways to protect yours from wildlife.
I find placing physical barriers like hardware cloth on top of the planting area deters animals like squirrels and chipmunks that dig from above.
Spring Blooms For Pollinators
Want more ideas? These bulbs are attractive to pollinators when late winter food sources can be scarce.
For more fall planting ideas also see 25 Flower Seeds to Sow in Fall and 20 Quick-Growing Veggies for Fall and Early Spring.
Now go plant some spring blooms!
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛