Cheap Spring Bulbs

Laws of Cheapness

When looking for inexpensive bulbs, there are two important Laws of Cheapness to keep in mind:
  1. The smaller the flower, the cheaper the bulb.
  2. If it says "New!!", it will cost more.
Here are the explanations:

  1. The smaller the flower, the cheaper the bulb: Compare daffodils and Grape Hyacinths: some daffodils (such as the Long Cup Daffodils or the Trumpet Daffodils) can grow up to 18" (46 cm) tall. These daffodils may have quite expensive bulbs: up to $1.40 per bulb (for varieties like "Fortissimo" or "Mount Hood"). Compare this with the price of Grape Hyacinths, which are relatively small flowers: they average about 6" (15 cm) tall and usually cost only about 15 cents per bulb. Big difference!

  2. If it says "New!!", it will cost more: Varieties which have been around for a long time cost less than ones that have been just recently been developed. Compare the cost of an old, familar Long Cup Daffodil variety like "Carlton" (about 50 cents per bulb), with a recently developed variety called "Easter Moon", which I recently saw priced for $1.75 per bulb. Ouch! So if you see "New!!", and you're on a tight budget, stay away!

List of Cheap Bulbs

O.K., here's a list of some of the smaller spring flowers that are usually pretty cheap to buy, starting with the ones that are usually the cheapest (But remember that the prices I'm quoting are just rough guidelines; please don't quote me!!!):

  1. Grape Hyacinths (Muscari ambrosiacum):15 cents each
  2. Snow Crocuses (Species Crocuses): 20 cents each
  3. Dwarf Irises (Rockgarden Irises): 20 - 25 cents each
  4. Giant Dutch Crocuses: 30 cents each
  5. Siberian Squills (Scilla siberica): 30 cents each
  6. Two popular, older varieties of Miniature Daffodils are quite inexpensive: "Minnow" and "Hawera": 30 cents each

    If you absolutely have to have Tulips, you can go for some of the Botanical Species Tulips:

  7. Certain Botanical Species Tulips (Tulipa chrysantha, Tulipa linifolia, Tulipa tarda/dasystemon, Tulipa turkestanica): 30 cents each

    However, Botanical Species Tulips are very short, and don't have the traditional Tulip form. For a little more money, you can still keep within a reasonable budget if you keep away from the newest varieties, and stick to the older, more familiar varieties of Tulip:

  8. Triumph Tulips (eg. Apricot Beauty, Attila, Barcelona, Bastogne, Negrita, Page Polka, Purple Star): 45 - 60 cents each
  9. Darwin Hybrid Tulips (eg. Apeldoorn, Gander, Golden Apeldoorn, Menton, Parade, President Kennedy): 45 - 60 cents each
  10. Fosteriana Tulips (eg. Orange Emperor, White Emperor, Yellow Empress): 45 - 60 cents each
  11. Greigii Tulips (eg. Cape Cod, Lady Diana, Red Riding Hood, Toronto): 45 - 60 cents each

  12. Daffodils are generally more expensive than Tulips; however, some of the more common varieties are available at reasonable prices: Trumpet Daffodils: King Alfred, Long Cup Daffodils: Carlton, Salome, Short Cup Daffodils: Barrett Browning, Jonquilla Daffodils: Quail; 50 - 60 cents each

Bulk Buying

If you're trying to save money, buy your bulbs in bulk. You can always get a discount if you buy a package of 25, 50 or 100 bulbs of the same colour and type. If you only buy one type of bulb per year, in 5 or 6 years, you could have several hundred bulbs and your garden would look AMAZING.

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Last modified: October 11, 2008