Planting bulbs while the weather has a brief warm spell

Asked February 6, 2019, 3:10 PM EST

Hello, Wondering if I have a last opportunity to plant bulbs while the weather here is mild? Looks like through Friday 2/8. Are there certain bulbs you would recommend? Many thanks, Ellena

District of Columbia County District of Columbia bulbs plant care flowers: annuals and herbaceous perennials

3 Responses

Spring flowering bulbs generally do best when they are planted in the fall -- from about late October to mid-November -- so that the bulbs establish a good root system. But yes, you could plant bulbs now if the ground is not frozen. Research from NC State and Cornell University showed that bulbs need at least 42 days of a cold period below 48 degrees F to initiate flowering. If this cold treatment period is not met, you will get foliage growth in the first year but may not see flowers until next year. If you have deer in your area, some good deer-resistant bulbs would be daffodils (Narcissus) or ornamental onions (Alliums). Crocus, snowdrops, and scilla are also nice options.

Another option would be to plant some warm-season bulbs after the danger of the last frost in the spring (typically around early-mid May). Dahlias, gladiolas, and crocosmias would be a few good choices to consider.


Thanks very much, I was able to plant crocus and snowdrops before the weather turned.