Bright yellow daffodils are a surefire sign that spring has arrived.
ATTRIBUTION: Dimitry B. (Flickr)

Spring-flowering bulbs provide a colorful display of plant life from early spring through summer. Fall is the prime time for planting hardy spring-flowering bulbs, preferably at least six weeks before the soil gets too hard and frost covers the ground. Planting spring-flowering bulbs from early October through late November provides ample time for the bulbs to root and establish themselves. In warmer climates, bulbs can be planted as late as December, or when the average nighttime temperatures in your area reach 40 to 50 degrees on average. Here’s a look at some spring flowers to plant in fall.

1. Daffodil

Sunny daffodils that are planted in the fall will bloom in late winter or early spring. These hardy perennials require a site that offers full sun or partial shade. Plant your bulbs about two to four weeks before the ground freezes spaced about three to six inches apart. Sprinkle a small amount of bulb fertilizer in the hole during planting.

2. Anemone

Spring-blooming anemones are low-growing plants excellent for rock and woodland gardens. Plant these bulbs in early fall in a location where they will receive at least a half-day of sun. Opt for a site that offers good drainage, and plant the anemone bulbs at least two inches under the soil approximately one inch apart. Give the bulbs a good soaking to jump-start their growth.

3. Tulip

Plant tulip bulbs when the soil is about 60 degrees in an area that is sunny or lightly shaded but not excessively wet. Space the holes for the bulbs four to six inches apart and about eight inches down from the base of the bulb. Insert the bulbs into the holes, pointed side up. Give the tulip bulbs a light shower of water after planting.

4. Snowdrop

Snowdrop flowers are a popular plant, as they’re virtually pest-free and can withstand cooler temperatures. Choose a planting site that offers moist, well-drained soil, preferably under a shrub or tree for adequate shade. Plant the bulbs with the flat base down about two inches under the soil. As these un-dried bulbs do not store well, plant them quickly.

5. Hyacinth

Hyacinths are favored for their pleasant fragrance and intense colors. Plant these bulbs in a site that offers full sun to light shade in well-drained soil. Hyacinths should be planted about six to eight weeks before a hard frost is expected, or when the soil is below 60 degrees. Use a garden tiller or fork to loosen the soil, mix in two to four inches of compost, and then set the bulbs pointed side up in six-to-eight-inch holes. Water the site generously after planting.

6. Siberian Squill

Siberian squill is an early spring flower that is commonly seen in blue, white, and pink shades. This spring-flowering bulb requires full to partial sun and should be planted in groups approximately three to five inches below the soil, spaced several inches apart. For the best results, mix a small amount of bulb fertilizer into each hole

7. Crocus

Crocus is a small clump-forming perennial that is often planted in large groupings of 20 to 30 bulbs spaced out three to four inches apart. Plant the bulbs in the fall in a location that receives sun to partial shade. Bulbs should be planted three to six inches deep and away from summer annuals and other types of water-hungry summer blooms.

8. Freesia

Freesia flowers grow from bulb-like corms that should be soaked in water for about 30 minutes before planting. Plant freesia in nutrient-rich soil that offers adequate drainage and full sunlight or afternoon sun exposure. Dig a hole that is approximately three times as deep as the corm width and add bulb fertilizer to the bottom of the hole. Space the corms about an inch apart.

9. Crown Imperial

Crown imperial features impressive yellow, red, or orange blooms that create a “crown” on the top of a three-foot tall stalk. These elegant flowers require a bed that gets a full six to eight hours of sunlight and optimal drainage. Add a two-inch layer of compost before planting as well as a layer of sand on top of the planted bulbs to improve drainage.

10. Allium

Alliums appear as colorful globes that sit upon slim, straight stems. Plant these bulbs in a location with proper drainage and in a site that receives full sun. Bulbs should be planted at least three inches deep and about six to eight inches apart, with the pointed side of the bulb facing up. Once planted, water alliums well to help the soil settle around the bulbs.