How To Care For Bulbs & Perennials If You Can’t Plant Right Away

by Amanda

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Although we ship according to ground temperatures and won’t send your spring order until it’s time to plant in your area, things happen, including (but not limited to) random snowstorms, impromptu vacations, rain and lack of motivation at the moment. And even though we want you to get your plants and bulbs in the ground as soon as possible, we know that’s not always the case. But have no fear – we’re here to help with instructions on how to care for your bulbs and perennials to keep them healthy before you can get them in the ground.

Even if you know you won’t be able to plant your bulbs and perennials for a few days, remember to take them out of the box and give them room to breathe. Storing them in the box could result in too much moisture and rot.

Storing Bulbs Before Planting In Spring

One of the basic rules of bulbs storage is to keep them dry and cool, which helps prevent bulbs from sprouting before you plant. How cold? Make sure your bulbs don’t freeze – This means if you’re still having freezing nights in your area, you won’t want to store them in an unheated garage or shed.

To prevent bulbs from getting too hot, make sure to keep them away from the furnace, out of bright sunlight, not on top of the refrigerator or any other place that can get hot in your home. Ideal storage places in the home include a basement, closet or utility room that stays cool but above freezing.

Lilies must be stored below 45 degrees, or they will probably sprout before planting. If they do, treat the sprouts gingerly. If you break them off, your bulbs won’t bloom.

Dahlias and Gladiolus can stand a bit higher temperatures. They should be stored anywhere between 40 and about 62 degrees; the lower the better.

Canna Lilies like to be stored around 50 degrees, and should never dry out.

Calla Lilies and Elephant Ears like it warmer, between 60 and 70 degrees.

If your bulbs sprout before you get the chance to plant, make sure to be very gentle as to not break or damage it.

If your bulbs sprout before you get the chance to plant, make sure to be very gentle as to not break or damage it.

The goal is to keep the bulbs from sprouting before putting them in the ground. However, if your bulbs do sprout, it’s not the end of the world. Simply be extra gentle with the sprouted bulbs, making sure not to damage or break off the sprout. That sprout is likely the bulb’s only chance at growth and producing a flower.

As soon as you’re able to plant, bring the bulbs outside and put them in the ground according to the growing instructions.

Storing Perennials Before Planting In Spring

As soon as you receive your perennials, open the box immediately, protect the plants from extreme cold, and water each potted plant. Some of your potted plants may have new green growth, some may not. If you see no leaves, don't worry; this is normal. The roots in the pot are healthy and ready to grow in your garden.

Like bulbs, perennials should be stored in an area in the home that is cool, but not freezing, until you can put them in the ground. Keep your perennials where they get some sun through a window, and keep potted plants moist, not soggy. Leave bareroot plants in their packaging, but if they are dry, moisten.

As soon as you’re able to plant, bring the perennials outside and put them in the ground according to the growing instructions.

How Our Plants And Bulbs Are Shipped

We ship our plants and bulbs in different forms, depending upon the variety and the time of year. The goal is to ship the plants in a form that minimizes transplant shock, so they can adapt quickly to their new home in your garden. The plants and bulbs you receive may range from being fully leafed out and actively growing, to being in a dormant (resting) state, showing few if any signs of life. However, you can be assured that all our varieties are ready to spring to life once they're planted. See details about how each of our plants and bulbs are shipped, with photos, in our article.

Your bulbs and perennials have been dormant all winter long, so it shouldn’t be an issue to keep them that way for a few more days. Having said that, try to plant as soon as you can and call us at (877) 309-7333 if you ever need any advice or planting guidance– our gardening experts are happy to help.

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