Fall is for Planting – Don’t Forget Bulbs

Warm Soil + Cool Air = Happy Plants  

Just about everyone prefers moderate temperatures to summer’s scorching and humid heat of zone 7. That’s true for plants too. Fall is the only time of year you get those perfect conditions where the soil is still warm from the summer sun and daily average temperatures are more comfortable for plants and people.

Plants have a head start for next spring. With little help needed from you, trees, shrubs and perennials will spend the fall rooting into the soil and make it home. Then in the spring, they will wake up faster, bloom sooner and have more vigor than any of your new spring plantings could.


Bulbs need our help with proper timing. Plant spring-flowering and early summer-flowering bulbs, such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinth, lilies, alliums and crocosmia. Peonies corms should be settled into place about six weeks before the ground freezes. Garlic! Oh the garlic! Plant those now too.

With evening temperatures dropping into the 50’s, your annual routine for bulbs should be triggered right away. For a lot of gardeners, it’s the same every year: gather the inspirations saved from spring, the doodles of yard mappings for placement, your gardener’s notebook with previous bulb planting so you don’t plant on top of things, and you’re off to the races.

If you are planning a big fall planting, try to task manage efficiently. If you plant a Cornus florida, nothing pairs nicer than early bulbs such as Galthunus so, plant those right into the top of the hole you’d just dug. They will grow happily together. You may remember David Culp talking about them with us this spring when the visited Homestead Gardens Severna Park to share highlights of the Layered Garden event in Spring.