What Is the Shelf Life of Flower Bulbs?


Flower bulbs are offered in every store across America. From the home improvement stores to the grocer, the gardener can pick up several different varieties of flower bulbs throughout the year. Shoppers need to understand the bulb does not last forever. Unless the flower bulb was properly stored, it could be a waste of money buying them.


Flower bulbs need to be dug up after the foliage of the plant has turned brown and died back. The plant needs to be able to gather nutrients from the leaves after blooming. These nutrients are stored in the bulb for the next growing season.


The flower bulbs must have been stored in a cool, dark place. Moisture and heat can cause a flower bulb to rot. The rotted bulb will not bloom.


A plump, fleshy flower bulb is generally a healthy bulb. This means the flesh is moist and ready to produce. If the bulb crackles when squeezed, it is most likely dead.


Most flower companies have a date printed on the packages of bulbs and seeds. The dates are important indicators of how fresh the item is and when it was packaged. Outdated bulbs may or may not bloom.


The idea that a flower bulb is perfectly good for years is not true. Unless stored properly, the bulb is only good for about 12 months.


Many bulbs can be started indoors in pots. This is one way to keep flower bulbs fresh if time is running out for planting.

Who Can Help

  • Bulb Society.org
  • Cornell Flower Bulb Research

About this Author

Julie Richards is a freelance writer from Ohio. She has been writing poetry and short stories for 30 years. Recently, Richards has written a variety of e-books and numerous articles on gardening, small business, and farming. She is currently enrolled at Kent State University completing her bachelor's degree in English.

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