Spring just wouldn’t be spring without the fragrant, colorful blooms that peek up out of the ground letting us know that winter is finally over. But the best time to plant flowers for springtime blooms is in the fall, so the bulbs can become well-established in their new homes and ready to put on a show come spring. That’s why fall gardening isn’t just about trimming plants down for the winter–put these 5 beautiful blooms on your fall planting list, and welcome the spring in style!
The bearded iris is not only gorgeous–it’s also very low-maintenance. This distinctive flower (see photo at the top of the article) comes in a wide variety of colors. Depending on the breed, it will grow to a height from 8 inches to 4 feet. Plant bearded irises in late summer or early fall. Simply loosen the ground to a depth of 12 to 15 inches and plant iris rhizomes–that’s the thick, root-like part–1 to 2 feet apart from each other. Bearded irises bloom in early summer, and some types also bloom a second time later in the summer. Bearded irises will add striking color to your garden, and also make excellent cut flower bouquets for inside your home.
The tulip remains an extremely popular choice for home landscaping. Tulips come in just about any color imaginable, and their large, beautiful cup-shaped blooms are a wonderful welcome to spring. In addition to the classic tall tulip, hardy, lower-growing “botanical tulip” varieties are an increasingly popular choice for filling smaller spaces or complementing other flowers. Tulip bulbs need a period of cool fall weather to develop properly so, if you live in a warm area such as USDA hardiness zones 8 through 10, you will need to refrigerate your bulbs for several weeks before planting them or purchase warm winter varieties such as the Candia tulip (T. saxatilis), the lady tulip (T. clusiana) or the Florentine tulip (T. sylvestris). To plant tulip bulbs, dig a hole with a depth equal to 4 times the height of the bulbs and plant them individually or in groups, with the root side down.
The summer snowflake develops clusters of dainty, bell-shaped flowers with a unique green dot on the tip each petal. This dependable bloomer makes a beautiful addition to borders or rock gardens, and also grows well in flower groupings. Summer snowflake thrives in full sun or partial shade in USDA hardiness zones 4a through 9. Plant summer snowflake corms (bulb-like structures) in rich soil in the fall, and add some slow-release fertilizer to give them a good start.
The scilla’s 6-petaled blooms are a vibrant blue makes them stand out. Growing only 3-6 inches in size makes them perfect for planting under flowering shrubs to complement the shrubs’ blooms. Group scilla together to maximize their effect. Plant in partial shade or full sun, where they will grow quickly and bloom in early spring. Scilla are suited for USDA hardiness zones 5a to 8a.
The Asiatic lily produces large numbers of showy blooms in late spring to early summer. They grow to a height of 24 to 35 inches. The Asiatic lily comes in a variety of colors, including pink, white, orange, red and yellow. The Asiatic lily’s wide, 6-petaled blooms with long stamens in the center are definitely show-stoppers. Asiatic lilies grow well in partial shade to full sun and are well suited for USDA hardiness zones 4a to 9a. Plant Asiatic lilies in rich soil, in clusters of 3 to 5 bulbs.
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