October 17, 2023

When & how should daffodil and tulip bulbs be planted in Georgia? 

Field of daffodils for article about when to plant bulbs in Atlanta Georgia

Part of our Homeowner Landscape Question Series:

As a landscape company with over 20 years experience landscaping Atlanta, Alpharetta, and now Lake Martin, area homes, our clients often reach out us when they have questions about planting, maintenance, and more. 

These questions inspired us to start posting a series of short articles based on some of the most common questions homeowners have asked. (In no particular order!)   

Question:  When & how should daffodil and tulip bulbs be planted in Georgia & Alabama? 

 With the fluctuations in climate, it is sometimes hard to nail down the exact time to plant your spring-flower producing bulbs in Atlanta, Lake Martin, and other southern areas.   Plant your bulbs too early and they may not produce well or maybe they won’t appear at all in the spring.  

Finding the best time to plant your bulbs allows the bulbs to establish their roots before the cold winter months and ensures they bloom in the spring. It is a good idea to look up the USDA zone for where you live to decide the best time for you to plant. 

Plant Hardiness Zones For Atlanta And Georgia Plus Alabama.
Plant Hardiness Zones For Alabama And Georgia

When you are ready to plant, these tips will get you on your way to seeing the beautiful green shoots appear in the spring, followed by a sea of welcome spring color:

  1. Choose the Right Location: Select a well-drained location with full to partial sun. Make sure the soil is fertile and slightly acidic.
  2. Prepare the Soil: Loosen the soil to a depth of about 8-10 inches and amend it with organic matter, such as compost, to improve drainage and fertility.
  3. Planting Depth: Generally, plant tulip bulbs about 6-8 inches deep and daffodil bulbs about 4-6 inches deep. Space the bulbs about 4-6 inches apart.
  4. Orientation – which side of the bulb should point up: Plant the bulbs with the pointed end facing upward. This ensures that the shoots will grow in the right direction.
  5. Watering: After planting, water the bulbs thoroughly to settle the soil and provide moisture for the roots.
  6. Mulch: Apply a layer of mulch, such as the Atlanta favorite, pine straw, to help maintain soil moisture and regulate soil temperature.
  7. Maintenance: Water the bulbs periodically during dry spells. Fertilize with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring as new growth appears.

One last tip, here in the South, tulips are often thought of as annuals, meaning they will only flower for one year, as tuplips require an extended cold period to return the following year. 

Daffodils, on the other hand, often “naturalize” and will come back year after year.  So we say “Go Daffodils!” Happy planting!

To learn more about bulbs and other bulb-like plantings, we highly recommend visiting the University of Georgia’s Agriculture site

Written by Outside Landscape Group, Branches in Atlanta (and cities north) and Lake Martin, Alabama.

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