If you garden in a frost-free area (zones 9-11), your bulbs and plants can go into the ground as soon as they arrive. In cooler areas (zones 4-8), please reference the map and plant-specific recommendations below.
Bulbs and perennials should be planted in loose, well-drained soil. To improve the soil before planting, loosen it to a depth of 8-12” and mix in compost or other organic matter.
Proper planting depth varies significantly from one type of bulb to another. Please follow planting instructions on the packaging. Generally, plants that arrive as plugs should be planted so the crown (where root meets stem) is level with the soil surface. Clematis are planted more deeply. Most bare root plants should be planted so the crown is 1” below the soil surface. Correct planting depth is especially important for peonies.
Plants have different light requirements. Some will not produce flowers unless they are grown in full sun, while others perform beautifully in partial shade. Make sure you know how much light your plants require and choose suitable planting locations.
Dahlias, Cannas, Callas, Crinum, Eucomis, Nerine, Hymenocallis
Wait to plant these cold-sensitive bulbs until 2 weeks after all danger of frost has passed. In northern areas, you can start the bulbs 4-6 weeks early indoors and then transplant outside.
Lily bulbs are not sensitive to cold and may be planted outdoors as soon as they arrive.
Elephant Ears and Caladiums
These heat-loving plants will not grow in cold soil. Bulbs that are planted too early may rot. Wait to plant until the soil has warmed to 65°F, which in northern areas may not happen until mid-June. For an earlier start, plant these bulbs in pots and grow indoors for 4-6 weeks.
Gladiolus and Acidanthera
These bulbs may be planted outdoors any time after the last frost date. Flowering begins approximately 90 days after planting. Make several plantings 2 weeks apart to extend the bloom time.
Crocosmia, Liatris, Brodiaea
Plant these hardy perennial bulbs outdoors any time after the last frost date.
Tubers may be planted outdoors 2 weeks after the last frost. For earlier blooms, start them indoors and transplant outdoors, 6-8 weeks later. For detailed information about planting and care, please read the How-To articles on our website.
Anemone Coronaria and Ranunculus
Plant in spring or fall, depending on your growing zone. Generally, zones 8-10 should plant in fall, colder zones plant in early spring. These bulbs should be soaked 3-4 hours before planting. See our website for more information.
Bare-Root Plants and Plugs
Plant perennials outdoors in early spring, once nighttime temperatures are above 25°F. After planting, keep the root zone consistently moist (not wet) for 4-6 weeks. During this time the plants will be establishing new roots. Most perennials do not mature until the second growing season.
Additional planting and care information is available on our website. Click on LEARN in the top navigation bar and go to Spring-Planted Bulbs.
Article is closed for comments.