When’s a good time to plant flower bulbs in the fall for a good show come next spring? Heaps of bagged bulbs are appearing everywhere from garden nurseries to grocery stores so you’d figure that now, now, now is the best time. But there isn’t actually that much of a rush here in Southern Ontario. I’ve planted bulbs as late as mid-November and had great results the following year. Still, some idea of the ideal time would make plunking the things into the ground seem a little less of a gamble.
The folks at Colorblends, an American flower bulb wholesaler, thought so, too. They know that the simple answer is “once your soil temperature reaches about 55 degrees Fahrenheit.” That’s about 12 degrees Celsius. “But who knows what their soil temperature is?” asked Tim Schipper of Colorblends. So he surveyed his customers, many land care professionals, to share “natural indicators” that let you know when to start digging in those bulbs. Here’s a fun sampling of the results. When you see these things happening in your garden, you know it’s time.
- Fall foliage has moved just past peak.
- Crickets no longer chirp.
- Squirrels are digging in acorns as fast as they can.
- Birds start to group and depart.
- You start turning on the heat in your car.
- The air smells of wood fires.
- The hostas start to lie down.
- The dog moves from a cool to a sunny spot in the yard.