Planting perennial bulbs in the garden is a task that, while reasonably simple, must be done with care to ensure healthy plants. As a rule, purchased perennial bulbs come with some general instructions as to how and when they are to be planted. However, sometimes bulbs can sprout before you get them planted, a complication that generalized instructions rarely take into account. Sprouted perennial bulbs can still be planted with good results if done carefully, although in some instances late planting may slow the plants growth and development during its first season. Most will recover to grow and bloom normally the following season.
Giving sprouted perennial bulbs a good foundation in which to grow is the first step. Soil preparation is important for successful growth when planting any bulb, especially ones that may be stressed by late planting. Soil should be loosened in the area in which you plan to plant sprouted perennial bulbs to a depth of about 12 inches, allowing plenty of room for roots to develop. Using a light, porous potting medium to plant your bulbs is advisable in areas with hard soil, and mixing in a bit of fertilizer can help give them a better start.
Planting guidelines for most bulbs call for the top end of the bulb be buried to a depth of two to three inches. These guidelines apply to sprouted perennial bulbs as well. Planting a sprouted bulb should be done at the recommended depth as measured from the top of the bulb, just under the sprouts, leaving the green shoots to protrude from the soil, just as they would if they had grown after the bulb was in the ground.
Blooming may not occur the first season after planting sprouted perennial bulbs, but the the green shoots that develop will help the bulb store energy for the production of next year's blossoms. So, with a bit of patience and a little special care, sprouted perennial bulbs can produce beautiful and healthy plants in your garden.