Summer's End Signals Bulb Planting Time - Indiana Yard and Garden - Purdue Consumer Horticulture

Summer’s End Signals Bulb Planting Time

If thinking about the end of summer is getting you down, start planning your spring flowering bulb show. Autumn is the time to plant crocus, daffodils, tulips and many other spring bloomers.

Spring flowering bulbs are planted in fall to allow them to establish roots before top growth begins in spring. Planting too early may cause the bulbs to sprout this fall, only to be killed back by winter weather. Planting too late may not give the bulbs adequate time to root before winter. Bulbs should be planted in late September through mid October in the Lafayette area. Plant a couple of weeks earlier in northern Indiana and likewise, later in southern Indiana.

Start your bulb garden out on the right path by planting only quality bulbs, which are available from local garden centers or reputable mail order sources. It’s best to shop early to ensure the best selection of variety and quality. Select large, firm bulbs, and avoid those that are sprouting or molding.

While many bulbs can adapt to a wide range of soil types, none can tolerate poorly drained soil. Prepare the planting bed by adding organic matter, such as peat moss, well-rotted manure or compost. Adequate fertility can be achieved by adding a low-analysis, balanced fertilizer, such as 5-10-5 or 6-10-4, at the rate of 2-3 pounds per 100 square feet of bed. Mix all amendments thoroughly with the soil in the bed, before you plant the bulbs.

The size of the bulb and the species will dictate the proper planting depth and spacing. The bulbs should come with planting instructions specific to that particular flower.

For more information on the many types of bulbs that can be grown in Indiana, you can download a copy of HO-86 “Flowering Bulbs” from


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