Fall in Love with Bulbs

First and foremost we need to answer the question: what are bulbs? Simply put, flower bulbs are unique plants that are designed for survival. Bulbs are unique because they store their complete life cycle in an underground storage structure—the bulb itself. Another aspect of bulbs that make them unique is the fact that most need to be planted in the fall, preferably after nighttime temperatures drop into the 40s or low 50s for at least two weeks. Spring flowering bulbs need the colder temperatures of winter in order to grow.

Most bulbs bloom early to late spring but some do bloom in late summer like Resurrection lilies.

There are even some fall-blooming bulbs, such as Colchicum and fall Crocus, which should be planted immediately so you can get a bloom out of them this season. We even have some Colchicum Giant bulbs blooming in their packaging right now!

How to Plant Your Bulbs

So how do you actually go about planting bulbs? Easy, all you have to do is plant the bulbs at a depth of three times their height. So if you were to plant a bulb that is 2 inches tall, then you would have to plant it at a depth of 6 inches. The only exception to this rule is Tulips. They can be planted at least 10 inches deep to improve hardiness. Bulbs should also be planted at least two to three bulb-widths apart. Make sure to plant the bulb with the pointed end up, and the flat side down. Usually, you should be able to tell which side is which, but if you got an odd shaped bulb just plant that one on its side and it should grow just fine!

Watering Your Bulbs

All you need to do is water thoroughly after planting. After your initial watering, there is no real need for additional watering. Too much water can cause the bulbs to rot. If there is a long period with no rain, much like the unseasonable weather we are experiencing right now, additional watering may be required. But if you have well-drained soil there should be nothing to worry about.

After Your Bulbs Bloom

Aftercare is just as important as the planting process. As blooms fade, you should clip back the flower heads. This will channel energy back into the bulb for next season. The leaves need to be left to wither for around 6 weeks or so to allow photosynthesis to recharge the bulb. If the thought of withering leaves in your garden disinterests you, you should consider companion plants such as daylilies or hostas to help disguise the foliage. After the leaves yellow, then you can cut them back to ground level. There are some bulbs that naturalize such as Narcissus (Daffodils) and Scilla that multiply and can then be dug up and divided when they start to get crowded. This process can be done in the fall or after they flower in the spring.

The Growing Place Staff Picks

Many of our staff love to plant bulbs in the fall and watch them flourish in the spring. Here are some of their absolute favorite bulbs to plant. One of the most common staff picks was Narcissus, more commonly known as Daffodils. These cheery flowers are probably the most likely to pop into your head when you think of spring blooms. They are a staff favorite for a number of reasons; Cindy, one of our Cashiers, said that she loves these bulbs because they are reliable and no one eats them. Carol, in Annuals, felt the same about their reliability. She said that she has some daffodils that have been in her garden for almost 30 years! Something great about daffodils is that there are so many varieties.

Pat, Annual Manager in Naperville, loves Fritillaria bulbs the best. She just loves how they look. Their unique drooping flowers add a little something extra to your spring gardens. Fritillaria bloom late mid to late spring, and come in both dwarf and large varieties.

Joannie, Perennial Manager in Aurora, just loves Alliums in all shapes and sized but her absolute favorites are Allium Shubertii & Christophii. These bulbs add drama and that 'wow' factor to your garden. Shubertii flower heads are can be 9-12" wide with Christophii flower heads just a little bit smaller.

Becca, Marketing Manager, enjoys planting bulbs as well. A must have in her garden is Eranthis, also known as Winter Aconite. She loves these because they are easy to grow and are one of the first flowers to emerge in the spring.

Cristin, in Trees and Shrubs and also our Naperville bulbs expert, loves Scilla Wood Hyacinth Blue. She said the reason she loves this particular bulb is that it grows in the shade, blooms later in the spring season, and the critters tend not to go near them!

Aurora Location

2000 Montgomery Road,

Aurora, IL 60504

Phone. 630-820-8088

Naperville Location

25w471 Plank Road,

Naperville, IL 60563

Phone. 630-355-4000

Spring Hours

March 30-June 30

Monday-Friday: 9am-7pm

Saturday: 9am-5pm

Sunday: 11am-5pm

Memorial Day Hours

Monday, May 27


Growing for the future with
right plantsĀ in right places.