Ordering Bulbs for Fall Planting

At the beginning of the week I finally got in my order for bulbs to plant this fall. Once again, I used my favorite source for bulbs, John Scheeper’s. The order was mostly bulbs I had planted before, but I am also trying out some new selections.

Tulip 'World Expression'
Tulip ‘World Expression’.

First, the tulips for containers. Basically I ordered the same tulips we had tried last year. However, I ordered more of our favorites from this current year.

Tulip 'West Point'
Tulip ‘West Point’ with ‘Flair’

Most of those favorites were had mixed colors. Of all of this year’s tulips, I thought ‘World Expression’ was the most beautiful. This is surprising because I was not enthusiastic about it based on the picture in the catalogue. ‘World Expression’ has red striping on cream-colored petals.

Tulipa 'Flair'
Tulip ‘Flair’

Other favorite tulips were ‘Flair’, ‘Rainbow Warrior’, and ‘West Point.’ ‘Flair’ has red petals edged with golden yellow. ‘Rainbow Warrior’ has golden yellow petals edged with red. ‘West Point’ is a lily flowering yellow tulip.

Tulip 'Kingsblood'
Tulip ‘Coleur Cardinal’

Other varieties we ordered included ‘Coleur Cardinal’ (an early scarlet and plum-colored tulip), ‘Kingsblood’ (deep red), and ‘Sunny Prince’ (a light yellow).

All our hybrid tulips are grown as annuals in containers. These varieties include a mix of heights and early to late season bloom times.


Since I removed the Spirea vanhoutei shrubs at the northeast corner of the house, I now have a new area I can fill with bulbs. For this spot I wanted to stick with a blue and yellow color scheme. For blue, I ordered Scilla sibirica ‘Spring Beauty’. Scillas have small blue flowers that need to be planted in large drifts to be appreciated. Fortunately they are good naturalizers, since I only ordered 100. We already have patches of this bulb in both front and back.

We’re also trying a bulb that is totally new for us: Spanish Bluebells ‘Excelsior’ (Hyacinthoides hispanica). This bulb has dangling blue flowers on 12″ stems, and is supposed to be a good naturalizer.

Spanish Bluebells Excelsior
Spanish Bluebells ‘Excelsior.’
Photo: John Scheeper’s

The Scilla blooms in April and the Bluebells in May, so I have ordered a variety of shorter daffodils to bloom with each of them. ‘Baby Moon’ grows to just 7″ tall and blooms in May. ‘Little Gem’ blooms in April and is even shorter at 6″.

Hyacinth 'Blue Jacket'
Hyacinth ‘Blue Jacket’
Photo: John Scheeper’s

Another new bulb I’m going to try is Hyacinth orientalis ‘Blue Jacket’. I love the fragrance of Hyacinthis, and I’m planting these in containers that I’ll keep on the front porch so we can smell them on our way out the door.

Casa Blanca Oriental Lily
‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental Lily

Finally, I’m ordering two kinds of lilies. Despite the fact that they died on me this year, I’m going to get a few more ‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental lilies and see if my luck improves. In addition, I’m going to try the Orienpet lily ‘Conca D’Or’. ‘Casa Blanca’ is pure white, ‘Conca D’Or’ is yellow.

So that’s it. I hope I got enough.

Have you ordered any bulbs for fall planting yet?

52 Comments on “Ordering Bulbs for Fall Planting”

  1. I’m always so glad that people plant bulbs. I do very few, (just a couple dozen of several species tulips), but I’m ever so grateful to see other people’s displays blooming away in spring. If my experience is typical, you’ll have no problem with the Hyacinthoides hispanica naturalizing. In fact, you may be giving them away to other gardeners in a few years!

  2. I look forward to seeing our tulips flowering next spring. I too grow tulips in pots as annuals, thise in the ground often flower for several years as long as they don’t get summer irrigation. Can I recommend Regal lilies, they have a wonderful fragrance and are very elegant, good growers too.

  3. When you plant your Casa Blancas, Jason, plant them on their sides so moisture doesn’t collect and sit between the scales (especially in your heavier soils). Also, although you may have gotten no lily from the ones planted last year and believe them to be dead. Lilies don’t always “stay” dead. Be careful digging in that space, you may be surprised.

  4. I’m ready to pull the trigger next week on my bulb purchases – tulips, crocus, and I may add some Casa Blancas to that order based on this post. I also just bought a mixed bag of 100 daffodil bulbs on a whim in a garden center yesterday. Sounds like we’ll both be busy planting!

  5. Of course you did not order enough! There can never be enough bulbs! ‘Baby Moon’ bloomed VERY late for me this spring–Memorial Day weekend! Its flowers are very small, and for me, the foliage, which resembles chives, grew taller than the flower stalks. I initially didn’t like it, but I am ordering more this year after all, to plant near the much taller Allium ‘Purple Sensation,’ which blooms at the same time.

    I’ll be re-reading your container bulb posts soon. I’ve tried container grown tulips in years past with poor results–maybe next year will be better!

  6. Jason, you’ve inspired me to grow tulips in containers (and BTW, to go back to Europe). As for ordering for the garden, I’ve always liked the small species tulips and alpine tulips.

    The species tulips usually work well in the garden, despite our wet winters. Any little alpine tulips I’ve ever had were consigned to troughs and pots.

  7. The bulbs you have ordered are beautiful! Tulips must be considered as annuals here, expensive ones! Still I am tempted to at least put a few in a pot. Daffodils are very reliable. I have planted many hundreds over the years. Little grape hyacinths are the only hyacinths that do well for me. I love their bright blue color, and I will probably plant more.

  8. I love the idea of container planting the bulbs. I need to look into that. The squirrels really make a mess of my bulbs and it’s heartbreaking to watch nothing come up after planting just the right varieties. I wouldn’t mind if they’d just move them.

  9. Glad to know that you’ll have oriental lilies again this year so that you can once again roll around on the ground reveling in their fragrance and confirming your neighbors suspicions about the state of your mental health. I’d the best of intentions to order several different and delightful bulbs this year but instead just picked up some tulips at one of the box stores. Wonder if it’s too late to order through the mail? I understand that the Spanish Bluebells aren’t as aggressive there as they are here but we have to work to get rid of them. Even a fraction of a bulb left in the ground will yield a clump in no time. They do make a nice haze of blue in the spring and along with our native bleeding heart, another thug in my garden, they crowd out anything else that might want to grow in certain spots.

  10. The bluebells will definitely naturalize, we are over run with them in our woodland in this country and they look amazing but because they’re not native people turn their noses up at them. Our native bluebells are smaller and cuter for sure as they are the ‘under dog’ to the bigger Spanish variety but the Spaniards are still wonderful. I’ve been thinking about bulbs too but I’ve not ordered any yet. I’ll no doubt leave it till the last minute and end up gardening at night again in a mad attempt to get them planted before it’s too late! I really like your tulip selection.

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