Frequently Asked Questions
How will my bulbs/plants arrive?
Most of the items we sell are harvested and shipped in a dormant state. Therefore, we attempt to keep all of our plant starts, bare roots, and bulbs in this state of dormancy to save the plant any unnecessary stress during shipment, which may affect its performance. If some of these root starts or bulbs do begin to grow prior to shipment, this growth may die back prior to arriving to you, the customer. However, this should not cause alarm. Once these items are planted in fertile soil and well-watered, they will be re-established and start growing in their new location in just a few short weeks!
How deep should I plant my bulbs?
Specific information regarding the planting depth for bulbs can be found in the planting instructions for each bulb category. However, planting the bulb two-three times its height in depth is often a good rule of thumb to go by.
Which end of a bulb should be planted up?
Generally speaking, the more "pointed" end of a bulb should be directed towards the soil surface. In some cases, the "pointed" end of a bulb may be difficult to determine. If this is the case, take your best guess and plant accordingly. If the bulb is relatively small, it will right itself as it feels the warmth of the sun and moisture from the ground's surface but may just take a few extra days to sprout. To read more, visit this blog post about planting bulbs correctly on the Bulb Blog.
How do I keep rodents from digging up my bulbs?
A good way to prevent this is to bury a layer of chicken wire over the area where the bulbs are being planted and then cover with soil. Chicken wire has openings large enough the bulbs can still emerge through but still works quite well at deterring rodents from stealing your crocus bulbs. Also, we offer a few different types of Liquid Animal Repellent available for purchase on our site.
How do I keep rodents and deer from eating the foliage/blooms of my bulbs?
The most effective way to keep critters from eating your plants for breakfast is to spray the area with a repellent spray. This liquid will remain effective for up to 2 weeks, even through rainstorms. Dried blood can also be sprinkled in the area to ward off pests.
Are there any deer resistant bulbs available?
Yes! While no plant is "deer proof" (if they're hungry enough, they'll eat just about anything!), there are definitely some bulbs which deer tend to avoid. These include the following: allium, anemone, daffodils, fritillaria, and hyacinths.
What is the difference between a bulb, corm, rhizome, tuber, and root start?
All of these terms refer to the "storage organ" of a particular plant. This part of the plant grows below the ground and stores all of the food and nutrients the bulb needs to produce growth. Learn more about them by clicking here.
Why aren’t tulips, daffodils, and other bulbs available for spring planting?
Most fall-planted bulbs, such as daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths, require a "chilling period" of at least 10-16 weeks prior to sprouting in the spring. These cool temperatures trigger the process inside the bulb which produces growth and causes the plant to flower in the springtime. Not only is the fall season the only correct time to plant these bulbs, but it is also the only time of the year that these bulbs are available for purchase since they are harvested during the summer months. Learn how to force bulbs indoors by clicking here.
What should I do after my bulb foliage fades?
Once a bulb has finished flowering, it is best to remove any flower stems by cutting them off at the base of the plant. The remaining foliage should be left to remain attached to the bulb until it has dried and browned to a point where it can be pulled out of the ground with just a gentle tug. Allowing this foliage to remain gives the plant a chance to create the necessary food the bulb needs for the following year.
If I don't get a chance to plant my bulbs this season, can I save them for next year?
Flower bulbs are most successful when planted during the same season in which they were harvested. It is not recommended to attempt to store bulbs for the following year. If for any reason bulbs are unable to be planted during the same season, they should be chilled (placed in a refrigerator) or planted as soon as possible, depending on the type of bulb and season. For instance, if fall-planted bulbs (such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, etc.) are discovered after the ground is already frozen, they should be placed in the refrigerator and then planted in the spring. If a spring-planted bulb (such as a canna, lily, dahlia, etc.) is left unplanted during the spring season, it should be planted as soon as possible during the summer season. Even if it does not bloom that same year, it may return the following season.
What is meant by "hardiness zones"?
The hardiness zone of a plant refers to the areas where this plant/bulb can survive without any special intervention (such as removal in the fall/winter protection, artificial chilling, etc.). Find which zone you live in by clicking here.
What is meant by "suitable zones"?
The suitable zone of a plant refers to the areas where it is possible to grow this plant/bulb but may require special intervention in order to be successful. For example, a canna lily can grow in Zone 5, but will not survive the winter if left in the ground. This is the same concept for tulips, which can be grown in Zone 9 if chilled prior to planting.
What is meant by "naturalizing"?
Naturalizing refers to the ability of a bulb to multiply, or produce more storage organs under the surface of the soil. If a bulb is said to "naturalize", this means that it will spread over time and therefore, should be given ample space to do so and possibly be divided at some point in the future to increase the number of blooms.
What is meant by "perennializing"?
Perennializing refers to the ability of a bulb to return year after year in its listed hardiness zone. If a bulb is said to "perennialize", this means that it can be expected to return for 3 years or more as vigorously as the first year without any special treatment (such as cold storage, removal in the fall, or dividing).
When is the best time to transplant bulbs to a different area of my yard?
The best time to transplant bulbs is during their dormant season (during the fall for fall-planted bulbs and during the early spring for spring-planted bulbs). This can be difficult, since it is tricky to find the bulbs while the plants are dormant. We recommend marking the location of the bulbs to be transplanted during the active growing season for locating them later.
My tulips bloomed beautifully last year but this year I'm seeing fewer flowers. Why is this?
Tulip bulbs are often considered "perennials", however, the vigor of these bulbs in following springs often depends on the particular variety or hybrid. The best tulips for perennializing are the Darwin hybrids and the species or botanical tulips. Many of the other specialty tulilps (such as parrot, fringed, green, etc.) will perform with numerous blooms the first year and then dwindle in their show during the following years.
Will the bulbs I purchase bloom the first season after being planted?
For fall planted bulbs such as tulips and daffodils, they certainly will bloom the following spring. For spring planted bulbs such as Dahlias, Cannas, Callas etc, these will bloom in the current summer being planted. As for bare root perennials and fruit plants, they will most likely show some blooms and/or fruiting during the first season. However do not be alarmed if the number of blooms and fruits is low, as these plants will be returning for many years. Therefore, they are putting energy not only into blooming, but also towards green growth and root development, making sure they are prepared for winter. The general rule of thumb with new perennial plantings is: the first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap!
What is meant by "well-drained soil"?
This means that several hours after a rain shower, all precipitation should soak into the soil. If this does not happen, a different location should be chosen or the soil should be amended with additional organic material such as peat moss, compost manure, or ground bark.
I live in a zone that doesn't receive very much of a winter (Zone 8 or above). Can I still grow fall planted bulbs here?
Most fall planted bulbs require a chilling period of at least 10-16 weeks, depending on the variety. This "chilling period" refers to a length of time where the temperatures are consistently in the mid-50's or below. If this does not occur naturally in the weather outdoors, you will need to provide this environment artificially for the bulbs prior to planting.
Are there any fall planted bulbs that do NOT require this chilling period and therefore, can be grown in Zones 8 through 10?
Yes! The following bulbs do not require a chilling period and therefore, can be planted in the fall in Zones 8 through 10 with no artificial chilling required: Rock Garden Daffodils, Dutch Iris, Anemone, Ranunculus, Amaryllis, Neapolitanum Allium, Crocus, Lilies, and Siberian Scilla.
How do I go about this process of "artificially chilling" bulbs prior to planting?
To do this, simply place that bulbs in a brown paper bag or planted in potting soil in pots. Then place the bag or pot in the refrigerator. It is extremely important that you keep the bulbs free from any excess moisture as much as possible. Also, remove any fruits or vegetables which are extremely near the bulbs as they produce "ethylene" as they ripen which will cause the bulbs to rot. Once the period of 10-16 weeks has passed (or if the bulbs begin to sprout), move them from the refrigerator to a sunny location. Unfortunately, this "forcing" process takes quite a bit of energy out of the bulbs and therefore, they typically only will last one season under these conditions. Please note: "forcing" bulbs outside of their natural environment voids any guarantee that the plants will grow and bloom. Read more about forcing bulbs on the Bulb Blog.
How will the pH level of soil affect the growth and performance of my flower bulbs?
The ideal pH level for flower bulbs to produce their true bloom color is somewhere between 6 and 7. A pH level which falls far below or above this ideal range can cause slight variations in bloom colors, therefore, resulting in a flower color you did not expect. To check your pH level, bring a soil sample to your local garden center or purchase an inexpensive soil testing kit to test your own soil at home.
I received a pot of spring blooming bulbs as a gift. Can they be planted in the ground when they are done blooming?
They certainly can be planted in the ground once they have completed their bloom cycle and the leaves have withered and turned yellow. However, be aware that they may not bloom during the first few seasons after planting them. It is important to keep in mind that the bulbs you received in a pot were "forced" bulbs. This means they were artificially chilled and forced to bloom early. Unfortunately, this forcing process utilizes greats amount of energy, which somewhat drains them of the energy they need to produce blooms in the following spring(s). Therefore, it may take 3-5 seasons before they bloom again in your garden. Read more about this on the Bulb Blog here.
I see that most of your perennials are listed as plant starts or bare roots. What does that mean?
Perennials are often sold as bare roots or plant starts for the spring season. A bare root perennial is a root division from a perennial that was harvested in its dormant state. A plant start is similar to a bare root perennial, however it will most likely be already starting to show green growth coming from the root system, as it is a small start of a perennial that was taken from a division. Bare root perennials and plant starts should be planted during the spring season while still dormant, or early in their growth stage. It is also important that these items be planted as soon as possible after receiving them to prevent them from drying out.
Are your bulbs and perennials treated with Neonicotinoids?
The bulbs and perennials that come from Holland are not treated with any Neonicotinoid pesticides.
Do you have a wholesale catalog, or offer wholesale pricing for landscapers and contractors?
We do not have a printed catalog for retail or wholesale, and at the moment do not plan on printing a catalog. If you are interested in large quantities we may be able to help you out depending on which varieties and how many you are looking for. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a list of items and the quantity you are in search of, and we will get back to you within 1-2 business days.
What is our price adjustment policy?
Holland Bulb Farms will honor price adjustments within one week (7 days) of the purchase date if the price of an item was further reduced from the final price you paid. You must contact customer service and request a price adjustment while the item is still at the further reduced price. We cannot process a price adjustment for a promotion or coupon code that was not valid when the order was originally placed.