Avant Gardening

5 Signs from Nature to Plant Bulbs for Spring

Plant now for an eye-catching display in Spring! Are you always jealous of the beautiful tulips, crocus, allium or daffodils popping up in your neighbor’s yard? It could be your garden with just a little bit of planning and effort now.

narcissus-xYou can plant bulbs any time before the ground freezes or when soil temperatures are approaching 55°F. Here are some fun indicators from nature about when to plant:

  • When birds start flocking together
  • Fall foliage is just past its peak
  • Squirrels are digging in acorns as fast as they physically can
  • The sound of crickets has died down
  • Your family dog starts laying out in the sun

When choosing a site for your bulbs think about two things: Sunlight & Drainage. Most bulbs require sunlight to store energy and bloom come spring, so plant them in a location that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Never plant bulbs where water pools or damp areas in your landscape, the bulbs will essentially rot before they have a chance to grow. Ideally, the soil is well-drained, rich in organic matter, such as compost or peat moss, but sandy. Plant your bulbs approximately 6-8” deep (varies slightly depending on type).


Also at this time of year critters (such as squirrels, rodents, chipmunks, etc.) are attracted to any sign of disturbed soil. We recommend covering the area that you’ve planted bulbs with a heavy-handed sprinkle of Milorganite.

What the heck is Milorganite you ask? It is a slow-release granular fertilizer comprised of heat-dried biosolids that is produced by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District… but don’t worry, it’s not poop… The sewage treatment plant collects wastewater and treats it with microbes that digest the organic matter in the wastewater. The microbes drop to the bottom of the tank where they are then kiln dried into small pellets. The strange odor typically drives away most of the critters that are interested in your bulbs!

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You can find a wide selection of bulbs at your local nursery or garden center. If you’re not sure what combination would look best or are you just feeling overwhelmed with how to get started?

Feel free to contact Avant Gardening for some guidance, either fill out our contact form or call us at 608-838-2054.

We do bulb planting and layout design for many of our existing residential clients as well as commercial and municipal sites – we’d be happy to help you too!