Don’t Panic — Spring Bulb Foliage in Fall Is OK

November 3, 2008 | By | Comments (5)

Q: I planted spring flower bulbs — paperwhites, daffodils and hyacinths — in early October. They have all started to come up and are have already several inches of growth. I might have planted them to early (just a guess on my part), but is there anything I could or should do now to still have spring flowers? Will the current growth just die off?
John Berchin

A: John,
Not to worry. Spring bulbs often sprout foliage in the fall after planting. Some of mine, especially jonquils and grape hyacinths, started growing foliage back in September. The foliage may remain all winter or die back with the first hard freeze. This won’t interfere with blooming in spring, however.


  1. Grumpy Gardener (His Magnificence)

    Paperwhites need very little winter chill, why is why they are so popular for forcing. Planted outdoors, they bloom much earlier than other Narcissus (sometimes in January in Birmingham). This makes them susceptible to freezes. The places I have seen them do well outdoors have very mild winters. Where do you live?

    January 18, 2010 at 8:34 am
  2. Sheersheri

    I would like to add my conundrum to the above discussion.
    Not to dispute Grumpy, but I have had my paperwhites bloom once in 2005 when I planted them, and then every year they will not bloom. I tried ‘thinning’ them and moving them. I always thought it was because their shoots came up early. . . Is there something else I can do? Do I need to get them out of the ground? Is it because we haven’t had cold winters???
    Any advice would be welcome!

    January 13, 2010 at 9:37 am
  3. Grumpy Gardener

    The one book on Southern gardening that every Southern gardener simply must have is the Southern Living Garden Book — which coincidentally, Grumpy edited. It describes more than 7,000 plants and tells you how to grow them and where they’ll grow. In addition to perennials, it also covers trees, shrubs, vines, groundcovers, lawns, vegetables, herbs, annuals, and houseplants. You desperately need a copy! I’d give you mine, but from then on, I’d sound stupid.

    November 6, 2008 at 3:50 pm
  4. Rhonda

    I would like to buy a book that would have perinnals in month to month order based on their blooming cycle. Gardening is new to me so I need the book to include everything I need to know on each plant like when to prune, dead head and look it’s best. I live near Birmingham Alabama so I am interested in plants suited for this region. Thanks so very much.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:54 pm
  5. Cameron (Defining Your Home Garden)

    Good to know! I planted allium bulbs about 2 weeks ago and they are coming up already.

    November 3, 2008 at 7:24 pm

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