The autumnal rite of planting bulbs holds the promise of spring beauty. As we fall into the season of senescence and dormancy, many think the window for planting spring bulbs has closed - but it hasn’t. Early November is actually a good time to plant in southeastern Wisconsin.
The optimum time to plant is when soil temperatures have dropped to around 55 degrees. In a normal year, this happens in early October and extends into November. Last month was the warmest October on record, which means soil temperatures are also warmer than usual.
For us procrastinators, this is good news! There is time to get tulips, daffodils, and other spring bulbs tucked into the ground. And here’s a secret not many know: as long as the ground hasn’t frozen, you can plant! If you can get a shovel into the ground, you can dig, drop, and get it done. Granted, bulbs will perform best next spring if their roots have had time to develop this fall, but bulbs are full of stored carbohydrates which is enough energy to push out leaves and flowers next spring.
TIPS FOR PLANTING
Keep the following in mind as you plant:
THREE UNUSUAL BULBS
The world of bulbs is vast, so go beyond the classic red and yellow tulips and yellow daffodils. Here are three of my current favorites:
* Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’, also known as Summer Snowflake, is a snowdrop on steroids. It grows 24” tall and 24” wide and blooms mid spring.
* Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ adds whimsy to the garden with it’s large purple flower heads. I prefer this one to others for two reasons: it’s the first Allium bulb to bloom and the seed heads stay green when picked as a dried flower.
* Narcissus ‘Bella Estella’ is not just another white and yellow daffodil. The name translates to ‘Beautiful Star’ and bears two flowers on one stem. But her best feature is her fragrance!
No matter which bulbs you choose to plant, you aren’t just planting bulbs - you are planting potential and hope. A few minutes spent now leads to several weeks of enjoyment when next spring’s colorful display rewards you.
Hi, I'm Tracy - horticulturist, beauty-seeker, Word-lover, and blessed to be the owner of Bella Botanica. I also love to write about plants, gardening, and about my faith journey. Thanks for reading!