Most people would think of fall as a season when the trees change color and die. For many, the autumn leaves are our last dance with color before the dark, gray winter arrives. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Fall flowers can offer a touch of rebirth and color in a season known for leaf fall.

The bulbs are live plants and contain their own food storage. They are quite self-sufficient and will strive to flower no matter when or where they are planted. Fall flower bulbs are planted in spring or summer and bloom in early fall. Some examples are lilacs, colchicums and crocuses. Colchicums are extremely unusual in that they will flower without being planted, although they do need soil to develop roots.

When selecting fall flower bulbs, you should look for bulbs that are firm and free of visible blemishes. If you want big flowers, buy big bulbs. Small bulbs will produce smaller flowers.

Most fall flower bulbs cannot survive the winter. These have to be dug up each fall and stored until planting time. Bulbs should be stored in a cool, dry place. A dry base is ideal. If you don’t have a foundation, a dark, unheated closet or utility room will also work.

For individual planting instructions, use your packet. Most bulbs grow best in loose, well-drained soil. Standing water or excessively wet soil will cause the bulbs to rot. Do not plant bulbs at the bottom of a hill.

The bulbs should be planted six to eight inches in the ground. Cover and pack tightly. After planting, water the bulbs well. Water them occasionally, and they should bloom in early fall.

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