There are basically two planting seasons for the popular garden flowering bulbs, being spring and autumn. Some choice species and alpine bulbs might be planted at different times according to type.
Gnerally, those bulbs that flower in spring – such as crocus, daffodils, fritillaries and hyacinths – are normally planted in the previous autumn – or late summer. The main exception to this being the planting of snowdrops – arguably winter flowering as distinct from spring flowering bulbs.
Bulbs that flower in the summer months – such as lilies, gladioli, ixias, alliums, freesias and Crocosmia – are normally planted in early summer; after the severe frosts have finished. Let’s include the dahlias and begonias for good measure as we have included them in the bulbs section; even though they are tubers rather than actual bulbs.
There is another group of bulbs – so often overlooked yet so important to extend the seasons of interest – being the autumn flowering bulbs. Conveniently, these are normally made available at the correct planting time for bulbs in this group.
There is considerable leeway for planting times of all bulbs, for they have their own food store within. A month either way makes very little difference other than to the actual flowering time or flower size. The exception to this latitude being that summer flowering bulbs should not be planted too early in case of cold or frost damage. Spring flowering bulbs on the other hand, are conveniently harvested, packed and sent to the garden centres at planting time, so not easy to plant too soon!
Erythronium Pagoda - Early Spring flowering bulb for autumn planting.