The Q&A Archives: Planting bulbs in Illinois

Question: I live in a suburb outside of chicago. I recently purchased Peony, Lily and Gladiola bulbs. Is it too late to plant them? If so, can they be stored and planted in the fall or should I return them?

Answer: Bare root peonies are usually sold and planted in the fall because that is when peonies form new roots. In my experience spring planted bare root peonies usually do not do very well. Lily bulbs can be planted in the spring, but they must have been stored carefully under controlled conditions because lilies never go fully dormant the way some other bulbs do. They are usually freshly dug and planted in the fall. If they are mushy or moldy or have already tried to sprout, they will not do well for you. Gladiolis bulbs should also be dry and firm with no signs of mold. They are customarily dug in the fall, stored dry during the winter and then planted in the spring. They can be planted any time from early spring to early summer. Go ahead and plant the glads if they seem to be in good condition.

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