Fall is the best time of year for planting bulbs, when they have time to establish roots and settle in for winter.
Sara Melton, a manager at Barn Nursery, said mid-October is the best time to plant bulbs. If you want to plant them now, plant deep, Melton advised.
Here are more tips from Melton.
1 Choose wisely. The best bulbs to come back every year are daffodils, grape hyacinth and Spanish bluebells. All these plants naturalize well, come back year after year and are rarely bothered by squirrels or chipmunks.
2 Watch your depth. Most bulb packaging comes with a recommended range. The trick is planting to the deep end of the range, which helps insulate bulbs from early warm spells and keeps them from roasting in hot summers. Cooking in the summer is what keeps a lot of bulbs, such as tulips, from flourishing. Plant tulips and daffodils 12 inches deep, and use a slow-release bulb fertilizer, such as Bulb-tone by Espoma, when you plant.
3 Select sun or shade. Full sun is best for many fall plantings, especially for tulips. Spanish bluebells will take more shade than most bulbs, and daffodils will bloom in partial shade but may not come back as vigorously year after year.
4 Prep the soil. Loose, well-drained soil is best. Amend hard soil with plenty of compost or soil conditioner. Bulbs will rot in a poorly drained soil, especially if it stays wet in the winter.
5 Keep creatures at bay. Squirrels and chipmunks love tulips. To safeguard them, dig a wide hole, plant tulips a foot deep and cover them with a thin layer of soil. Place a large section of chicken wire over the bulbs, then cover with dirt and mulch. The tulip foliage is narrow near the bulb and will pass through the chicken wire with no problem.