Planting Autumn bulbs – Gardener’s Guide

3 Nov, 2021

Planting Autumn bulbs – Gardener’s Guide

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Whether you like gardening or not, most homeowners find planting Autumn bulbs is a great way to start. Autumn bulbs offer an easy way to bring colour into the garden early in the Spring. It just takes a little effort to plant the bulbs in the Autumn. And of course you need to do a little extra work to maximise the chances of your bulbs growing successfully.

Here is our gardener’s and garden sitter’s guide to planting Autumn bulbs for maximum success.

Gardener’s guide – Planting Autumn bulbs

planting autumn bulbs
Tulips are extremely popular as Autumnal bulbs

A Gardner’s Guide to Planting Autumn Bulbs, Shrubs and Trees

In the milder climates of the United States, late fall and early winter are the ideal times to complete various tasks and wrap up gardening chores in an effort to prepare for the next growing season.

November is the most pristine time to prepare your garden for a lush and colorful spring by following a simple guide for identifying the essential tasks for your plant hardiness zone. Whether you are a homeowner and gardener or a garden sitter garden sitting on a housesit, note the following tips.

Autumn gardening top tips

Continue to rake

As leaves fall and pile up around the garden, they can create thick mats that become difficult to remove in the spring. By continuing to rake the garden and lawn throughout November, and composting or mulching the raked leaves, you’ll minimize the leaves to remove in the spring, while also minimizing their possible detrimental effects on your garden.

Protect your trees

Install deer fencing to encompass your fledgling trees, shrubs and planting beds is the best way to ensure their protection from wildlife as their roots grow deeply into the autumn soil, and plentiful rainfall nourishes and stimulates growth.

Continue to weed

Even though weed growth may slow down, weeds are among the hardiest plants and will continue to creep up even in colder weather. Keep weeding so you’ll have fewer nuisances once spring starts and weeds gain a greater foothold.

Prune the trees

Once trees have gone dormant (all of their leaves have fallen), it’s safe for them to be gently pruned. Remove any branches that pose a threat, including those that are broken, injured or diseased, so they don’t create any direct hazard over the winter.

Plant flower bulbs for spring

plant autumnal bulbs
Snow drops are an early splash of colour

Now is the time for planting Autumn bulbs, but you need to consider what bulbs to plant in each month. Those early spring bulbs will flower in the spring and add colour to your garden. Think crocuses, daffodils, alliums, and hyacinths. Anticipating their spring color will get you through long days of endless grey in the winter.

Just add lime

For those who have acidic soil, adding lime in the fall will help balance the pH for spring planting. Using fertilizer treatments this time of year often proves to be useless as the treatments will seep into the soil and have no effect.

Add mulch

Once the soil becomes chilled, it’s best to add an extra layer of mulch around plants to insulate newly-growing roots and encourage better growth.

Wrap fragile evergreens

Snow and ice can easily split evergreens like yews, arborvitae, and junipers in two. Tie or wrap the shrubs together to keep them strong throughout the winter.

Water your new plants carefully

Continue to water new plants

Until the ground is frozen, newly planted shrubs and trees should continue to be watered. This will help ensure that they are spring-healthy, and give their delicate root system a boost during the harsh winter.

Compost pumpkins

planting autumn bulbs
Compost your old pumpkins

If you’re like many people who enjoy celebrating in the Autumn with pumpkins in the garden and lawn, November is the perfect time to compost them. At this point they are ripe and can easily be smashed into smaller pieces for the compost pile.

Be sure to remove any candle or wax remnants before composting. And once you have done this begin to think about planting Autumn bulbs to plan colour for the Spring.

Protect trees from mice

Wrap tree guards around the lower part of sapling trunks to protect them from gnawing mice.

Save seeds

Keep the seeds from all of the flowers and vegetables that you’d like to plant for the next growing season. Make sure to keep them dry in an air-tight container and store them in a cool, dark place until ready for planting.

Preservation of bulbs and roots

Now is the time to lift out cannas, begonia, and dahlia tubers to store inside during the cold season. Ideally, the best time to lift them is after the first frost. Also consider digging up overgrown herbaceous perennials to replant when the soil warms.

Cultivate cover crops

Crimson clover and rye grass will help prevent erosion, suppress weeds, and create a valuable soil conditioner once the freezing weather persists and they die back. If they don’t, you can always cut them back on your own. They also attract helpful insects to your garden that will keep the unwanted pest population under control.

Protection from the cold

If your geographical climate includes severe winter weather in the form of below freezing temperatures, apply a layer of straw over your perennials. Other forms of protection include building cold frames, and wrapping them with paper and burlap. Pine straw and wood chips will also insulate them from the cold.

Summary – Planting Autumn bulbs

Though it might be sad to see your Summer garden fade, there is still plenty you can do to prepare for the spring. November is the ideal time to organize, clear away debris, and protect plants from expected upcoming bitter temperatures and harsh weather.

Need garden sitters for your property?

One of the best ways to keep your garden and property well maintained and secure when you are away from home is to find house sitters and garden sitters. House sitters and garden sitters, on your instruction, will keep all the home and garden routines going in your absence, and they keep pets cared for too.



At Housesit we often share practical tips and tools that can help our members. Here are some blogs published earlier that offer more information and advice on gardening.

Create the perfect garden – 7 Top tips

Top Tips for a Pet Friendly Garden

Home gardening safety tips – Green thumb 101

Home gardening ideas – Artificial grass

The Affordable Alternative to Dog Kennels

What is House Sitting: Everything You Need to Know

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