The Q&A Archives: Planting Bulbs in Illinois

Question: Hello. I recently sent the following question in and received an answer:

You asked:

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?

Your 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.

I want to make sure I understand. Can I plant the lilies if they are in good condition or is it too late?

Answer: I would plant the lilies, peonies and glads, with the hope that they will grow and thrive. You have nothing to lose - you've already purchased them and they will be happier in the ground than sitting in storage somewhere. Plant them, water them, and talk to them. They may surprise you and flourish inspite of the odds!

Best wishes with your garden.

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