Ordering Bulbs for Spring

close up of tulips with red, yellow and orange striped markings

While summer is still in full swing, and gardeners are looking forward to fall color and cooler temperatures, it is time to look even further ahead to spring! Tulips (Tulipa), Daffodils (Narcissus), Hyacinth (Hyacinthus), Crocus (Crocus), and Grape Hyacinth (Muscari) are fall planted bulbs and should be ordered soon to ensure you get the cultivars ad varieties you desire.

Most retailers take orders from July to October and start shipping in September, just in time for planting. Remember to check hardiness zones – online retailers sell a range of beautiful bulbs that won’t survive the winter in Iowa.

Don’t feel left out if Tulips and Daffodils aren’t your first choice for spring color, as there are plenty of other bulbs that have merits. For instance, if you have a lot of deer or rabbits that browse your yard, try planting Grape Hyacinth (Muscari) and Camass (Camassia). If you have dense shade, then Siberina Squill (Scilla) and Glory-of-the-Snow (Chionodoxa) are good options.  Most bulbs don’t tolerate wet feet, but Snowdrop (Galanthus) and most species of Frittilary (Fritillaria) have success in heavy soils.

Caption: Tulipa ‘Ballerina’ 

– Prepared by Lindsey Smith, Collections Curator