The Q&A Archives: Will The Bulbs Bloom This Year?

Question: I purchased some bulbs at a garden shop last week and planted them (Dutch iris, liatris, calla lillies, spiderwort, garden gloxinia, peonie, etc.). I am assuming that since they are for sale at the garden shop, now is the time for them to be planted. I had heard that bulbs must be in the ground for winter/freezing, will these plants bloom this season, or will they have to stay in the ground through a winter first?

Answer: Many bulbs, such as tulip, daffodil and crocus, must be planted in the fall and undergo a cold period before they will bloom. In contrast, the plants you purchased are a mixture of hardy perennials and summer bulbs. The spiderwort (Tradescantia), liatris, gloxinia and peonies can be planted now and left in the ground indefinitely; they will grow and bloom each summer as hardy perennials. (The peony may take several years to settle in before it will bloom.) The Dutch iris can be planted now and may bloom for you this summer, but it is not usually hardy in areas colder than zone 7. The calla lily can be planted in the ground for the summer and then lifted and stored for next year, or it can be planted in a container and set outside for the summer. It will not tolerate any frost at all, so do not set it outdoors too early.

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