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When to reserve flower bulbs online

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Know when to reserve flower bulbs online to ensure the best selection

Know when to reserve flower bulbs online to ensure the best selection

Flower bulbs bring bold beauty to a garden and they?re often the first blossoms of the season. They?re also easy to grow and creatively inspiring. The only catch is that timing is everything.

Many seasoned gardeners can sense when to reserve flower bulbs online by changing temperatures – as soon as summer nights start dropping below 50 degrees F. Newbies, you?ll develop this intuition. For now, experienced peers and the trusty calendar will help you make sure you have everything you need in time.

Ordering spring-flowering bulbs

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Those planted in fall will flower in spring shortly after the last frost. To give them the best chance of survival, they must go in the ground about 6 weeks before the first frost. This gives the roots plenty of time to develop before soil freezes. 

The planting window will vary depending on where you live. For many this will fall before Thanksgiving. In warmer climates, you can plant as late as Christmas. Obviously, you?ll need to have the flower bulbs delivered before this date, but how far in advance?

Shipping dates vary slightly with every vendor, but they work hard to make sure gardeners have theirs when needed. Keep in mind that every flower lover will be placing their orders around the same time, so don?t delay in getting yours in. It doesn?t hurt to call ahead and ask about the shipping schedule. 


  • Place your order for spring flowering ones between May and September and expect them to arrive around mid-September.
  • Place the order after mid-September and expect to get them within about a week of placing the order. Plant tulip bulbs and other spring favorites before winter arrives and you’ll see them as soon as winter fades.  
Ordering summer and fall-flowering bulbs

Calla lilies, dahlias, gladioli and other summer-blooming varieties thrive in warm soil and loads of sunshine. If you live in a warm climate, plant them in early spring and they?ll blossom by summer. Gardeners in cooler climates should wait until late spring and plant at the same time tomatoes go in the ground.

Unlike spring-flowering ones, summer and fall ones are ready to wake up almost as soon as you put them in the ground. Many fall-blooming varieties can be planted as soon as they arrive at your door. Some, like the autumn crocus, will sprout leaves in spring and flower in the fall. 

When to reserve flower bulbs online to blossom in summer and fall is much less rigid than it is for spring-flowering ones. That said, gardeners often like to plan ahead. Browsing flower catalogs is a dreamy way to spend a snowy afternoon. That?s why many will place their order as early as January 1st.

  • Place your order between January and early spring and they?ll ship sometime around mid-March.
  • Orders placed after May typically arrive within a week as vendors as less busy and the planting is more urgent.  
For specific times

Gardeners know their unique growing season better than anyone. If you need a faster shipping time, many vendors will be happy to accommodate your needs.

If you travel frequently, plan ahead and consider requesting a specific delivery date. Otherwise you risk the bulbs arriving while you?re away. They wind up either sitting in some warm mail room or exposed to the elements on your porch! If you forget to make arrangements before traveling, ask a neighbor to keep an eye out for the delivery and store them in a proper place.

Storing bulbs before planting them

If you?re ordering from a local vendor, only get them in advance in you have a dry, dark place that?s between 32 and 45 degrees F to store them. Unheated closets, utility rooms and sheds that don?t drop below freezing at night are often good storage spots.

Knowing when to reserve flower bulbs online will ensure you get the flowers you want this year and in plenty of time to guarantee they thrive.


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