Bulb Sizes, Storing & More
What do your bulb size measurement mean?
Within any cultivar of flower bulb, various sizes are available in the marketplace. Some sellers elect to offer smaller bulbs so they can provide more bulbs for a set price, say $9.95. However, it's well known that larger bulbs produce more flowers and larger blooms during the first season when the new plants are working from the energy reserves inside the bulbs. Given this, we prefer to sell big flower bulbs so the display you get is great from the start.
Flower bulbs are typically measured in centimeters (rarely, in inches), around the exterior of the bulb. All of our bulbs include this size information so you can compare with other bulb vendor's offerings, assuming the others provide this key info, too. (Occasionally, our farmers grade their bulbs as "top size" - in these cases we try to measure the size ourselves when the bulbs are received at our warehouse. The only time this measurement can't be done is in the case of plant varieties highly irregular shapes, like dahlia bulbs.) For a picture that helps you envision what 7 cm versus 17 cm looks like click on this link to see flower bulb sizes.
When the directions say to plant 4" deep, is that measured from the top or the bottom of the bulb?
Planting depth is measured from the bottom of the bulb, where the roots grow. So, if instructions say to plant 4" deep, you'll dig a 4" deep hole and tuck the bulb in, base down.
Since flower bulbs and plants are shipped in a dormant state, can I store them for weeks or until next season, when I may have more time to plant?
No, that doesn't work well. Dormant bulbs and plants are alive and benefit from being out of the soil for as short a time as possible. While some varieties can be successfully held out of the ground longer than others, all should be planted promptly. Waiting weeks to plant greatly reduces the likelihood of success. If you know your schedule is going to be busy but want to make sure you get the exact varieties you want, order early and include a note on when you'd like your order shipped. We're happy to comply.
What is the best way to store my bulbs?
We strongly recommend planting your bulbs as soon as reasonably possible; they are alive, just dormant, and prefer to be in the ground. If you have to wait a while before planting, please consider the following:
- Place two separate orders; the first for bulbs that you intend to plant in the ground mid fall and the second for December gift paperwhites and amaryllis. This way we can hold your amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs under ideal temperature, light and humidity conditions until you're ready to plant them.
- If there's a short window of a couple weeks between when your bulbs arrive and when they get planted, here's how to store them. Place the bulbs in a dark, dry spot with good air circulation and temperatures in the 50-65 degree range.
- NEVER store bulbs in your kitchen refrigerator. Many types of produce such as apples, bananas, avocados, pears and peaches give off ethylene gas as they ripen. This gas damages the tiny plant tucked inside your bulbs.
Why don't you offer the same varieties of bulbs all the time? For instance, why can't I buy tulips and daffodils in the spring and begonias in the fall?
Living bulbs go through normal rest or dormancy periods. During these non-growing phases they can be dug, shipped and replanted without disturbing their growing cycle. We sell bulbs while they are in their non-growth phase. This is why you'll see some varieties available only in the spring and some only in the fall. There are even a few, Tritonia for example, that are such vigorous growers that their rest periods last for only a couple of weeks. (Occasionally, bulbs begin to wake up from their rest period late in their shipping season. Should you receive a bulb with fresh, new growth, don't worry. This is a bulb that is demonstrating its desire to get growing. Plant it gently, so as not to break off the new sprout. You'll have a healthy new plant in no time.)
A woman in my garden club bought some really unusual bulbs from you but I don't see them now. Where would I find them?
Our network of specialty growers sometimes turns up the most amazing bulbs. If you've been gardening for a while and think you've tried everything that is suited to your growing environment, these horticultural rarities are for you. On our homepage, look for the Weird & Wonderful tab along the left side. This is where you'll find the latest unusual garden treasures. Bulbs in this section are usually in short supply - often less than 100 - and are sometime available only once. Should you find something here that you like, we urge you to act quickly. Weird & Wonderful sections often don't last long.