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What is this To help gardeners understand which plants will grow well for them, the entire USA has been segmented into ‘Plant Hardiness Zones’.

The Life Cycle Of Spring-Blooming Bulbs

Tulips, Daffodils & Hyacinths

Many are enjoying cheerful Crocus, Daffodils and more showing their colors in the garden right now. And when you see something next door that catches your eye, it’s normal to want to add it to your garden right away. But many spring-blooming bulbs need a wintering-over period in order to grow and bloom. They must be planted in the fall.

With two seasons for perennial planting, it can get a little confusing when it comes to bulbs. Certain bulbs, including Daffodils, Tulips, Allium, Hyacinths, Crocus and several others, require three to four months of temperatures near freezing in order to bloom. But why? These bulbs are native to colder regions and require this cold period in their life cycle in order to grow and bloom in the spring.


For the same reason we can’t plant Daffodils in the spring in Vermont, gardeners in warmer areas (like Florida) can’t grow these bulbs in their gardens in any season unless they “force” the bulbs in the refrigerator for three to four months. Learn how to do this in our blog.

Bulbs are harvested from our growers in Holland in August and September, sent directly to us and then out to our customers to add to their gardens right away. The best time to plant spring-blooming bulbs is the early fall, before the ground freezes in your area. Depending on your zone, planting time could range from September all the way into November.

If you find yourself in a garden center and see Tulips or Daffodils for sale in the spring, don’t buy them! They are leftovers from the fall season and won’t grow in your garden. The healthiest bulbs are harvested fresh for the season and planted right away.

Have more questions about growing spring-blooming bulbs? Our gardening experts are always happy to talk planting with you; call them at (877) 309-7333.

Happy Gardening!

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7 thoughts on “The Life Cycle Of Spring-Blooming Bulbs”

  • Darci

    A have a bazillion daffodils, I would like to thin, and use the bulbs I take out in another location (or share). Can that be done now (spring)?

    • Amanda

      Hi Darci,

      Thanks for the question. We recommend digging up and moving (or sharing) your Daffodil bulbs after they've finished blooming this spring and once the foliage has died back and turned yellow. At this point they have already stored up their energy for next season and can be safely transplanted. Let me know if you have any other questions!

      Happy Gardening,


  • Connie E

    What a fantastic article!!!

  • Judi

    I have bulbs that hardly came up.....and some grew sideways and nothing come up.

    Should I remove all of the bulbs that didn't come up and store them somewhere cold, and when should I again attempt to plant and grow bulbs next fall or spring?
    Thanks. Judi

  • Emily O.

    What is the best (natural) way to prevent the critters (rabbits and squirrels, no deer) from eating my tulips?

    • Courtney

      Hi Emily – Critters can be a real problem for fall planted bulbs. Luckily there are several things you can do to help protect your tulips! Here are a few of our favorite methods of critter prevention:
      - Make digging difficult by filling planting holes with gravel or crushed rock
      - Fence the critters out
      - Plant tulip bulbs among less appealing plants such as daffodils
      While there is no magic way to get rid of critters, these methods often used together can help deter them from your garden. Hope this helps!

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