Where to Buy Bulbs Online for the Prettiest Spring Flowers
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If winter always seems to last too long, there’s something you can do about it this fall: Plant spring-blooming bulbs. While it may seem like an exercise in (very!) delayed gratification, you’re so going to thank us when gorgeous tulips, cheery daffodils and other colorful flowers pop up in your garden next spring. These bulbs must spend the winter underground in order to bloom next spring, but you can plant them anytime before the ground freezes in your region this autumn.
Although your local big box retailers often carry a small selection of bulbs, they’re usually pretty basic and lack variety. They’re also not always the best quality and may be mushy or already sprouting. If you want the best bulbs, online nurseries are the way to go. Pre-order whenever you think about it, and most vendors will ship when it’s the ideal planting time in your area. Just make sure to buy bulbs that will survive winters in your USDA Hardiness zone (find yours here).
What to Know Before You Order
When it’s time to plant your bulbs, group them in clusters for best effect, rather than a lone bulb here and there. Dig a hole about two to three times the height of the bulb, cover with soil and water well; there’s no need to fertilize. Then wait for spring! After the blooms fade, leave the foliage in place until it’s yellow and has died back because the plants need their leaves to make food for flowers in subsequent seasons.
Where to Buy Bulbs This Fall
This site offers a few hundred different fall-planted bulbs, including a humongous selection of different varieties of hyacinths, daffodils, ranunculus and alliums. Their tulips especially are stunning, with more than 70 varieties ranging from lush peony-types to hybrids that may return for more than one year. They include plenty of planting info if you’re a newbie gardener.
Variety Shown: Afternoon Tea Mix Tulip Bulbs, $18 for 10
Best One-Stop Shopping
Name a type of spring-flowering bulb, and this company has it. You’ll find everything from the more common flowers such as tulips and squill to lesser-known flowers such as trout lilies and fritillarias. They also carry a selection of heirloom bulbs. Their sister site, Van Engelen, offers bulk purchases of bulbs.
Variety Shown: Anemone Blanda Blue Splendour, $14 for 25
Best Bulk Buys
If you have a lot of ground to cover, this site offers the best prices on large quantities. Some bulbs, such as tulips, are sold in increments of 25, while others are offered only in quantities of 100. But if you’re looking to swath your landscape in color, this third-generation company can’t be beat for sheer variety and value pricing. There’s a $60 minimum order.
Variety Shown: Honky Tonk Tulips, $23 for 100
Best for Small Quantities
If you don’t have acres and acres of garden beds, this company offers bulbs of excellent quality in smaller amounts, such as 10 per bag. They have a good cross-section of many different types of spring-flowering bulbs, so they’re also a good option for lots of different types of flowers.
Variety Shown: Anemone de Caen Bordeaux, $14 for 10
Best Heirloom Bulbs
Old House Gardens
Founded in 1993, this small company hunts for heirloom bulbs in danger of being lost to gardeners forever. Some varieties date back to the 17th century. Many of their bulbs are grown in the USA on family farms, and they offer types you simply won’t find anywhere else. Their sampler packs are a great way to learn about and enjoy heirloom varieties that were nearly lost to this generation.
Variety Shown: Austen’s Pride Peony, $21 for one
Best Cut Varieties
You may know Johnny’s as a source of outstanding vegetable and flower seeds, but they also sell a small collection of flower bulbs from Holland. They tend to feature varieties and colors you won’t see just anywhere, so they’re a great place to find quality bulbs that make outstanding cut flowers in bunches or placed singly in a vase.
Variety Shown: Cheerfulness Narcissus Bulbs, $12 for 10
Best Native Flowers
If you’re looking for native flowers such as bloodroot or Jack-in-the-pulpit, they can be challenging to find because they take so long to grow. But this nursery has many options that work well in naturalized settings, such as in shaded areas or along the edges of your garden when it backs up to woods.
Variety Shown: First Dance Hybrid Helleborus, $18 for one
Best Uncommon Spring Bulbs
Brent & Becky's Bulbs
This family-run nursery, which has been growing bulbs in Virginia since 1900, specializes in daffodils. But they also offer an excellent selection of less commonly known spring bulbs, such as galanthus, glory of the snow, and many different varieties of rodent-resistant alliums you can’t find elsewhere.
Variety Shown: Pink Sunrise Muscari, $11 for 10
Best Custom Blends
This family-owned business in Ohio specializes in hard-to-find perennials, but they offer a great color-themed collection of fall-planted bulbs. For example, you’ll find muscari, anemones, hyacinths and alliums in various shades of blues in their Bees and Butterflies Blue Collection. There also are collections of yellow, white, purple, pink and stunning mixed varieties such a daffodils and Dutch irises to make your spring garden shine.
Variety Shown: Dutch Vintage Foxy Freedom Tulips, $15 for 15
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