Answer: Lily bulbs can be planted as soon as they are available, as can dormant bare root hardy plants such as clematis. They will wake up naturally with the season. If the clematis or lily is container grown and acclimated to the weather it can also be planted any time the ground can be worked. You might shield tender young growth if there is a late freeze, but usually that is not necessary. Dahlias, on the other hand, are not that cold hardy and their sprouts must not be exposed to frost. For this reason, they need to be dug and stored each winter. You can start them early in pots to get a head start, or you can wait until approximately your last frost date to plant them in the ground.
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