When your mail-order plants arrive there are some great success tips you can use to give them to a good start and have a great growing season. The plants and bulb were stored, packed and shipped in perfect condition. They will thrive after they arrive at their final destination if they get proper care.

To help you have the most success possible, we have put together our expert advice into a 'Fall Planting Guide'. It's fun, rewarding and feels good to know that you've supported your plants and their successful growing as best as you can. Have fun and enjoy the process!

Plant & Soil Preparation

It is always very exciting to receive your package of bulbs for planting in the fall! Now the question is, what to do with them once you’ve opened the package? Your bulbs have been shipped to you according to your climate zone so that you receive at the right time for planting in your area. Because of this, we strongly suggest planting your bulbs as soon as possible. If you cannot get them into the garden right away, you should open the packages to allow for better air circulation and store them in a cool, dry, preferably dark place. While earlier planting certainly will give your bulbs time to settle in before the onslaught of winter, they can be planted up to the time the ground freezes. Keep in mind, however, that if you choose to store your bulbs before planting you are dealing with live plants that are perishable. If you have to store them before planting we highly recommend keeping this time to an absolute minimum!

When choosing your area to plant remember the first golden rule of bulbs: good drainage is essential. Bulbs will simply rot in wet, water retentive soil so it is best to choose an area that is rich in organic matter and well drained. Loosening the soil, working in organic matter to a depth of 30 cm / 12” and/or mixing in coarse sand will help create the ideal bed for your bulbs.

On each labeled package you will find vital zone rating information as well sun exposure requirements for each variety of bulb.  Plant your bulbs, roots down, to the appropriate depth and spacing as indicated on the package labeling. With some bulbs it is difficult to tell which is the root end so when in doubt plant them on their sides. You can either dig individual holes for each bulb or plant entire groups of bulbs in one large hole. There is no need to add fertilizer to the newly dug holes, however, a nice topdressing of organic fertilizer is always recommended for newly planted sites. Once your bulbs are in the ground and covered with soil be sure to water them well.

For colder zones we very much recommend planting your bulbs somewhat deeper than recommended on the packaging and covering the entire bed with a thick layer of mulch – bark chips, leaves, tree boughs, etc. This covering layer will assist the bulbs in over wintering especially in a dry winter where snow cover is minimal. The mulch can then be removed in the spring once the last frost has past.

Once your bulbs have bloomed in the spring it is absolutely essential that the foliage is allowed to die back naturally. This allows the bulbs to store enough energy to produce a flower the following season. Avoid the temptation to cut off yellowing foliage before it has completely died back. Similarly, if you choose to plant your bulbs in a grassy lawn area try not to mow down the foliage before it has completely died back. Even if you have to mow around the planted clumps for a week or two you will be rewarded for patience next spring!


Plant your tulips in an area where they will receive at least 5 hours of sun each day. Excellent drainage is also very important so be sure to take the time to prepare your bed ensuring it is rich in humus and has a light, sandy texture. Tulips do not require much further care to bloom well. Water if the weather is dry in the spring and deadhead before they go to seed.

Many gardeners treat Tulips as annuals – replacing or replenishing existing bulbs each fall. This is due to the fact that most Tulips reproduce slowly and bulblets produced by the mother bulb will draw energy away from it until they are mature enough to flower themselves. You will find that they bloom spectacularly the first year and then slowly peter out thereafter. You have, of course, the option of digging up your Tulips in late spring, removing any bulblets and replanting. Or, since they are relatively inexpensive, most gardeners choose to simply order new bulbs each year and replenish those that are already in the garden. There are so many different types to choose from, you will never see the end of it. Single Early, Double Early, Delight Series, Triumph, Single Late, Giant Beauty, Double Late, Fringed, Viridiflora, Lily-Flowered and even Parrot tulips

AND there are varieties such as the Mini Botanical Tulips that are best known for their perennializing qualities. Kaufmanniana, Fosterianas, Greigii and Darwin Tulips have also been known to be good perenializers.

Good site selection, thorough soil preparation ensuring excellent drainage, feeding your Tulip bulbs annually with an organic compost and allowing foliage to ripen naturally will all contribute to the successful blooming and continuation of your Tulip bulbs.

Daffodils & Narcissi

Plant your Daffodils and Narcissi in a full sunny area or in semi-shade. Well-drained soil is essential and other than that they are relatively easy to grow and require minimal maintenance. Daffodils and Narcissi multiply quickly and you should therefore allow enough room between the bulbs for the developing offsets.

They do fine with a minimum of watering and they’ll grow in sandy to loamy soil and will tolerate acid to alkaline conditions. In colder zones its best to plant your Narcissi & Daffodils somewhat deeper than what is recommended on the packaging and to cover the beds in the fall with coarse mulch that will add extra winter protection. Once established in your garden, Daffodils and Narcissi will need to be separated as overcrowding can have a negative effect of blooms.

Regular Hyacinths

When you are unpacking your Hyacinths in preparation for planting we strongly suggest wearing rubber gloves and avoid contact of the bulb and tunics with your skin - Hyacinths bulbs can cause an itchy, rash like sensation when touched.

Choose a site in full sun to partial shade with a rich, well-drained soil that is neutral to slightly acidic. Plant to a depth of approximately 6” – 15 cm and cover the plantings with a loose mulch to protect the flower shoots when they emerge in the spring.

You’ll find that Hyacinths will bear their largest blooms in the first flowering season. After that, the spikes will be somewhat smaller and looser – creating a more natural look. After blooming, you can remove the faded flower stalks but it is best to allow the foliage to wither naturally.

Hyacinths will propagate easily in your garden and once overcrowding sets in you can separate and replant the offsets in midsummer once the foliage has completely died back.

Forced Hyacinths

Prepared Hyacinths are intended to be forced indoors during the winter months and have gone through a pre-cooling period to simulate winter dormancy. Forcing is a term used to describe the process that stimulates bulbs to bloom out of season. Although Prepared Hyacinths have been pre-cooled they still require a rooting period of about 8-10 weeks.

You can force your Hyacinths above water by using our special Hyacinth forcing glasses but it is essential that only the root portion of the bulb touch the water. You may also wish to pot up your bulbs using clean pots with drainage holes allowing for at least 2” – 5 cm of soil below the bulb. Water well in order to settle the soil around the bulbs. Bulbs can be planted very close together, even touching, and make the best show in "crowded" arrangements. Place pots in a cool place (5-9 Celcius), until you begin to see flower stalks appearing. Allow the flower stalks to achieve a height of at least 5 cm – 2” before moving to a room temperature environment. Forced flowers that are removed from the cool area too soon may appear somewhat stunted in size.

After blooming, Hyacinths cannot be forced again and should be discarded. Or they can be planted outdoors where they may rebloom within a year or two.


Crocus can be planted virtually anywhere as long as there is good draining soil and full sun conditions. You can even plant them in your lawn as long as your grassy spot does not require early mowing. After flowering, allow the foliage to yellow and die back naturally before cutting it off. This will allow the bulb to store enough energy for next year’s flowers.

Crocus multiply with amazing speed and new corms will appear quickly. Propagate by separating the offsets just as leaves turn yellow in early summer. For the longest display of blooms we suggest planting a variety of Large Flowering and Snow Crocus cultivars.


It’s usually best to plant garlic in the fall because it likes to grow a little while before the cold winter temperatures force it to curtail its growth and rest. It uses this time to establish its root system so it can survive the winter and be ready to explode with growth in the spring before the weather turns hot.

When spring arrives the following year wait for the leaves to begin dying down – they die down from the bottom of the plant to the top. When the top 6-7 leaves are the only ones still green and they start to look a little past their prime, that’s the time to harvest!

Fall Flowering Bulbs

Fall flowering bulbs should be planted in very early autumn. The sooner they are in the ground after you receive them, the better. As a rule of thumb: bulbs should be planted twice as deep as the height of the bulb itself. Please refer to the individual packages for exact planting depth. In areas of heavy frost, we highly recommend planting your bulbs a couple of inches deeper than recommended on the packaging. Cover the garden bed with a protective mulch of peat moss, leaves or hay to retain moisture and also provide a degree of winter protection.

In general, large bulbs can be planted at intervals of about five inches; smaller bulbs do well planted four inches apart. Please refer to the individual packages to learn the proper planting interval for each type.

Bulbs can be planted in any type of soil, as long as the ground is well-drained. To improve clay-bearing soils, add sand, peat or compost to the top layer. With a fork or shovel, break up the soil well. To plant bulbs individually, use a trowel or bulb planting tool to dig holes. To plant large quantities of bulbs, dig a trench to the length you desire. Smooth the soil at the bottom and position your bulbs in pleasing arrangements, keeping in mind their proper planting depths and intervals.

To start root growth and establish your flower bed over the winter, soak the soil immediately after planting.

Most Fall Flowering bulbs will not flower the fall that they are planted. They must overwinter in the ground and blooms will appear the following autumn. Many of the Fall Crocus will actually produce their foliage in the spring which will then die back and the flower will not appear until early autumn.

Bearded Iris

When you receive your Bearded Irises do not be concerned if the fans look yellow or dried out: this is normal. What’s important is that the roots are in good condition and that there is a presence of new roots: small white bumps on the rhizomes.

It is imperative that the roots of newly planted Bearded Irises be well established before the growing season ends. For best results, they should be planted immediately upon arrival in early autumn.

A common mistake is to plant Irises too deeply. Irises should be planted so that the tops of the rhizomes are exposed and the roots are spread out facing downward in the soil. Firm the soil around each rhizome and then water to help settle the soil.

Please refer to the individual packages to learn the proper planting interval for each type. Generally speaking, Irises that are planted closer together will need to be thinned often and plants spaced further apart will need less frequent thinning.

Bearded Irises are not too fussy about soil. All they require is good drainage and lots of sun.  Planting on a slope or in raised beds helps ensure good drainage. If your soil is heavy, coarse sand or humus may be added to improve drainage.

Newly set plants need moisture to establish their root systems so please soak the soil immediately after planting. Once established, Irises normally don’t need to be watered except in arid areas. Over-watering is a common error.


Amaryllis can be forced for indoor display either atop water or planted in soil filled pots. If you choose to force the bulb above water, follow the same instructions listed below ensuring that only the roots extending from the bottom of the bulb touch the water. Do not let the bulb itself soak in water as it will rot.

When planting in pots, choose a pot that is will allow for a maximum of 2” – 6 cm space between the outside or the bulb and the edge of the pot. Amaryllis prefer to be somewhat pot bound. Now fill the pot with humus rich soil and position the bulb in the pot so that the top of the bulb sticks up above layer of soil. Fill the space between the bulb and the side of the pot with the potting soil and tap down the soil firmly but not enough to damage the roots. Try not to fill the pot up completely with soil, as this makes watering somewhat difficult.

Place the Amaryllis in a cool, dark room and water sparingly until you begin to see stem growth. Once this happens move to a warm area of your home - 20°C - preferably with good sunlight. Water should be provided sparingly at first, and then more and more generously as the flower stems develop.

As the flower stem develops, it’s a good idea to rotate the pot so that the stem grows straight. It may necessary to stake the bulb once the flowers develop, as they are sometimes so large that they can cause the flower to topple over! As the flowers fade cut them off and once the last flower has been spent you can cut the entire flower stem off close to the bulb. Other stems may develop after the initial flowering and leaves will appear which should not be cut off but left to develop naturally.

Now fertilize your Amaryllis with a liquid plant food and once summer arrives move it, pot and all, outdoors for a summer vacation! Treat it as a regular outdoor plant, watering regularly and providing it with a sunny spot. In the early fall bring it back inside and slowly cut back on the watering. Remove any withered leaves and keep it dry for about 8-10 weeks. After it has had a bit of a rest, remove the bulb from its pot, replace the soil and repot the bulb as above. Place it again in a cool, dark room and wait for the new flower shoot to appear!


All species require a well-drained soil. A sunny habitat is best for most species, but a few also grow beautifully in full or partial shade. See individual packages for specific requirements. To prevent them from producing seed heads, its best to deadhead the larger Alliums (i.e. Giganteum, Globe Master, Mount Everest, etc.). Allims propagate by producing bulbets that can be removed and planted separately from the mother bulb. It will take a few years for the bulblets to mature to a size where they themselves can produce a flower.


We recommend soaking your Anemone rhizomes overnight in room temperature water before planting. They will plump up after soaking and this will assist them in getting started in the garden. It is sometime difficult to tell which end is up as their roots can be very tiny to distinguish. When in doubt simply plant them on their sides. Anemones naturalize well so be sure to plant them under trees and shrubs or amoungst perennials for early season colour.

Brodiaea laxa

Brodiaea laxa sends up grass-like foliage and slender stalks that bear delicate corn flower blue flowers. Native to western North America, Brodiaea laxa naturalize well and look best when planted in groups of a dozen or more. Choose a sunny spot and allow for good drainage. Once in bloom, their delicate beauty also makes them an excellent choice for cut bouquet arrangements.

Calla aethiopica

Select a site that has rich, moist soil in full sun to partial shade. These particular callas will grow in boggy soil and in water up to a depth of 12” – 30 cm so they are ideal as marginal plants along the edges of water gardens. Where hardy (zone 8-10) callas can be grown outdoors and elsewhere they can be overwintered indoors in containers or by digging them in the fall. Be sure to feed your container grown callas every 2 weeks with a balanced fertilizer.


Although it can be grown in ordinary garden soil, Camassia prefers to be planted in rich, moist soil and can be planted near streams or ponds but the bulbs must be above the water line. Wet, waterlogged soil, especially during the winter months, can be fatal so be sure to choose your site well. Once established, they prefer not to be moved and clumps are best left undisturbed. For best effect and for a natural look, plant the bulbs in irregular clumps allowing for 3” – 8 cm between each bulb.


Choose a site with well-drained soil in a spot where they will preferably receive full sun during the spring growing season. For best effect, plant your Chionodoxa in drifts rather than singly as clumps of 20 or more create a wonderful splash of colour. Chionodoxa are excellent naturalizers and self-sow easily if you allow them to go to seed. Propagate by digging and dividing clumps and/or by separating the seedlings they produce.


Corydalis prefer a rich, moist, well-drained soil and it is important to keep the tubers moist during dry weather. Corydalis naturalizes well and can be left to grow freely in the garden. You can, however, dig and divide them and this is best done in late spring or early summer when the leaves begin to wither and die.


Hardy Cyclamen like a spot that is in partial shade with well-drained, loose soil that has been supplemented with rich, organic matter. Once the leaves fade after the blooming season, mulch again with compost and especially in marginally hardy zones be sure to provide them with a winter mulch covering to protect them from freezing and thawing. Propagation is by seed as Cylclamen tubers do not produce offsets but rather the tubers grow larger with each passing year.


These unusual and exotic plants like a full sun to partial shade setting with rich, well-drained soil. Be sure to keep the soil moist while the plants are in leaf and are flowering but gradually withhold watering as they enter their dormant period in late summer. Dracunculus can be propagated by seed or by separating the offsets they produce. This is best done when the plants are dormant in early spring or in the fall.


Moisture is the key in keeping your Eranthis healthy and happy. It begins with planting your Eranthis as soon as possible and not allowing the bulbs to dry out. You may even wish to soak them the night before planting to ensure a good head start. Eranthis should be planted in rich, moist soil in a full sun to partially shady site. They are ideal for naturalizing and once established they form large, colourful drifts. Moisture is necessary all year so we recommend mulching in summer with well-rotted compost to keep the soil rich and moist. Once established, clumps are best left undisturbed but if they become overcrowded they can be dug and divided in late spring once the foliage dies back.


Eremurus are odd looking tubers that have a central crown surrounded by roots that shoot out from the side giving them an octopus-like appearance. Handle them with care as the roots are fragile and can break off. Sandy soil is ideal for these tall growing tubers and they prefer a site in full sun that is protected from the wind. The tubers need to be planted in a wide hole so that the outstretched roots can spread easily. Drainage is extremely important so we suggest setting the tuber and its roots on top of a layer of coarse sand. Plants begin growing in very early spring and late frosts can damage the top growth. To avoid damage cover the bed with a thick layer of compost in late fall. If the plants begin to emerge in early spring above this protective layer before the danger of all frost has passed cover the new growth with branches or leaves. You can also place a cardboard box over them in the evenings to protect the new, tender shoots. Once planted they are best left undisturbed.


Do not allow the bulbs to dry out before planting and choose a spot that offers dappled shade and rich organic matter in the soil. Set the tooth-like roots upright, not lengthwise, and cover with at least 3” – 8 cm of soil and mulch the bed with chopped leaves, compost or shredded bark in order to keep the soil rich, moist and cool.


Choose an area that receives full sun with rich, moist, well-drained soil. Although hardy in zones 7-11 we suggest planting your Freesias in a container and over-wintering the container in a protected area such as greenhouse. It is essential that they receive good air circulation and that the winter nighttime temperature remains below 10 Celcius. Keep your containers shaded and barely moist until the shoots appear the following spring. Once they begin to grow, keep the soil moist and slowly introduce them to a sunnier spot. Be sure to feed your container grown Freesias at least once a week during the flowering stage.


These types of bulbs are fragile and should not be allowed to dry out before planting. Although conditions vary for each different type of Fritillaria, all will benefit from good draining soil and a compost rich mulching in the spring.

Fritillaria imperialis and persica can catch moisture in the tops of the bulbs where a hole has been left from the previous years stem. Retained moisture will cause them to rot so to avoid this we suggest filling the bottoms of planting holes with gritty sand and placing the bulbs on their sides when planting.

All Fritillaria are very sensitive to over-handling and bruise easily. Handle with care and provide a moist, well-drained area that is lightly shaded.


Galanthus narturalize well and do best in a partially shady site with rich, moist, well-drained soil. Try planting them under deciduous trees and in shady, woodland gardens. They will easily spread and naturalize and should you choose to divide your established clumps, do so when the foliage is still green.

Gladiolus byzantinus

These gladioli should be planted in a sunny, warm spot in the garden. They prefer a light, fertile soil that provides good drainage. When planting, mix in a bit of complete fertilizer avoiding direct contact with the corms and cover with a layer of mulch. Gladiolus byzantinus will spread freely by producing cormlets.


Where hardy, plant in the fall in a soil that is moist yet well drained. They like a sunny location and any kind of soil as long as it’s not soggy. Ipheion also make excellent container plants that can be potted up in the fall with the tips about 1/2 “ – 1 cm below the surface. Store them in a cool room and keep the soil barely moist. Move the pots outdoors once the last frost has past. After they have bloomed water and feed regularly until the leaves die back then store them dry until the following year.


Iris prefer a well-drained, sandy soil in full sun to perform at their best. They require dry soil during their summer dormant period. In areas where they do not receive a dry summer the bulbs will produce many small, nonflowering bulblets. In well-drained beds that are dry in the summer these bulblets will eventually reach flowering size. To help ensure dry conditions in summer, try planting them with perennials that don’t require a lot of watering. Or perhaps try them in raised beds or in rock gardens.


Select a site that is in full sun to partial shade and has rich, moist, well-drained soil. They like the hot afternoon sun but still prefer a soil that remains evenly moist. Mulch the plants with compost in the summer months in order to keep the soil moist, rich and cool. Leucojum are ideal for naturalizing but they prefer not to be disturbed once established.

Lilium candidum

Unlike most lilies, Lilium candidum should be planted with only 1” – 3 cm over the tops of the bulbs. They prefer a neutral to slightly alkaline soil and do best in a full sun environment. As the flowers fade, dead head them to direct the plant’s energy into next year’s flowers.


Muscari are wonderful naturalizers and will spread easily in your garden provided you give them a sunnier spot with rich, well-drained soil. While the foliage of most varieties dies back after spring blooming, Muscair armeniacum will actually produce new foliage again in the fall months. Plant them in clumps for best effect.


Ornithogalum prefer full sun to partial shade and average to rich, well-drained soil. They are suitable for naturalizing as they spread easily, especially Ornithogalum umbellatum, which left unchecked can become invasive. Propagate by separating offsets in the fall months.


Unlike most bulbs, Oxalis are naturally soft to the touch. They prefer a site in full sun with a sandy, gritty soil that drains well. Plants will tolerate dry soil in summer but do best with a little moisture. Wet feet, however, in winter will severely damage the bulbs so be sure that the bed is well drained or, instead, plant them in containers or raised beds.


Puschkinia prefer a full sun location but will also tolerate partial shade. Choose a site that is well-drained with a gritty soil. They prefer an area that is dry during the summer months when they are dormant. For best effect plant them in drifts rather than singly. Puschkinia make an excellent ground cover and/or companion plant for Narcissi.


We recommend soaking your Ranunculus in room temperature water for a couple of hours before planting. Plant the tubers with the ‘claws’ pointing downwards. Where hardy (zone 7-11) plant them outdoors in a rich, well-drained area that receives full sun. Elsewhere, plant in pots in the fall and overwinter them in a cold frame, green house or other frost-free area. Give them a bit of water when planted and continue to water sparingly until foliage appears. Once the buds appear be sure to keep the soil evenly moist.


Scilla prefer a sunny to partially shady environment with well-drained soil. Try planting them under deciduous trees in clumps of 10 or more bulbs. Scilla freely produce offsets and also self-sow making them ideal for naturalizing.

Scilla nutans

Traditional English Bluebells prefer partial or dappled shade with an average to rich, moist, well-drained soil. Since they produce an abundant amount of offsets it is a good idea to space them generously and divide clumps only if they become overcrowded and begin to bloom less. Water well, especially in the spring as a lack of water during this important growing period can cause the bulb to produce only foliage without any flowers.


Choose a site that is in full sun with well-drained soil. Sparaxis prefer an environment that provides warm days, cool nights and dry soil conditions when they are dormant. Look for a protected spot and mulch heavily in the fall for extra winter protection. Where they are not hardy Sparaxis can be grown in containers by potting them up in the fall and storing the containers in a cool, well ventilated area over the winter months. Move the container outdoors once the last frost has past.

So now you're fully prepared to give your flower bulbs and plants the very best start possible. Happy gardening to you!

By Elke Wehinger


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