Bargain bulbs: Is it too late to plant, or should I wait?

amaikenJuly 22, 2014

I just found a ton of bulbs heavily discounted. I have already bought some, but I am thinking that it would be nice to have more. Is it worth buying them ($1 per bag of bulbs) to plant them now, or will they just mold and mush in the ground? I am hoping for blooms next year. I am in NC and it has been about 80-90 degrees here lately.

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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Some of them appear to be hardy perennials - Phlox, Peony, Daylily and Tricyrtis roots. These, if they are still viable, could and should be planted immediately.

The 'purple shamrock' ie Oxalis can be grown in a pot indoors. I will leave others to comment on the Dutch Iris, Tigridia, Caladium, Lily, Dahlia and Freesia because I don't know your climate. In mine they all need to be planted in late spring (except the Caladium which wouldn't be planted at all ;-))but by then they will probably be deader than a doornail unless you have ideal storage conditions.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 1:35PM
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First, I would strongly suggest you don't buy anymore :-) I think you would just be wasting your money.

The perennial roots (unless properly stored, which I seriously doubt) are most likely desiccated and lifeless. Even under the best of conditions, this is not an optimum way to sell hardy perennials and they tend to have a rather narrow shelf life.

Same with most of the other bulbs I can distinguish. Many of these summer flowering bulbs are not hardy and need to be dug for winter storage anyway. When they have been sitting for months after their intended planting time, the bulbs lose vigor and are unable to replenish their reserves without the ability to produce normal seasonal growth. Some - the lilies, for instance - never go fully dormant and are best not stored for any length of time at all, let alone 6 or more months.

I'm not saying none of them will grow but do not expect much. Sometimes bargains are not really bargains at all and bare root or bulbs held for an extended period of time after their normal planting time would fall into that category :-)) My suggestion would be to pot them up and grow them on for the rest of the season, then store overwinter as appropriate. Research by plant as to its hardiness for your area and treat accordingly.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 2:44PM
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portia(PA 6B, Brandywine)

I bought a bunch of the discounted Walmart bulbs too, at those prices... hard to pass. I got a bunch of dahlias which I know how to grow and had sprouts so they were viable, planed 2 weeks ago, already 12" tall.

Same with some of the lilies. I tore open colored bags to see sprouts before I bought so I knew they were viable. But the bulbs are TINY so chances are you might get one flower this year maybe. Better to just let them green and then store the energy for next year.

The peonies I saw at every store were pretty much dead, desiccated, dried out. Freesias you can still try planting now, they may throw some greenery but no flowers.

And at this point it's late enough in the season to where even I (who like to plant anytime) say it's time to probably not buy more. :)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 7:52PM
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Enough of those are probably already dead that you will end up having no bargain, and at best only undersized or stunted plants that may not get mature enough to survive the winter anyway, whether normally hardy or not. So these bargains may very well end up costing you rather than saving you anything and never producing anything in the end.

IMO these are not an honest offering even heavily discounted. We have them in this country too and not just in WALMART. This is the first year I have seen them come out this late, too. One indication to pay attention to is that you will not likely find these packages offered by reputable nurseries. That should tell you something.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 7:09AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

You should be able to tell/feel if there are viable entities inside the packages. I would only buy the hardy ones at this time, and plant immediately. Of those in your pic, I don't think Dahlia, Caladium, or Freesia are hardy in 7a.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 4:03PM
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