swan island dahlias farm
Credit: Courtesy of Swan Island Dahllias

The Best Places to Buy Flower Bulbs Online

According to an expert from the New York Botanical Garden.
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If you're looking to add vibrant color to your garden come spring, flower bulbs are an easy, low-maintenance solution. And while you may not think that it is possible to shop for them online, it's just about as simple as any other Internet purchase: Simply "add to cart" and pull out that credit card. But in order to do that, you'll need to know where to look because quality is paramount in this context. That's why we reached out to Marta McDowell, a garden writer and instructor at The New York Botanical Garden. She teaches a class specifically on bulbs, which makes her an expert in sourcing all kinds of varieties.

It's important to remember that certain bulbs, like tulips and daffodils, are planted in the fall and bloom in the spring; lilies, on the other hand, go into the ground in spring and come to life during summer. To time everything correctly, be sure to buy your selections ahead of each planting season, before everything goes out of stock. "You want to find a reliable supplier with a good selection of quality bulbs that will arrive at the right time for planting in your location," says McDowell. "They should arrive on your doorstep in good condition; they should feel solid, not squishy or dried out. And they should always come with planting directions." Ahead, see McDowell's picks for the best places to buy bulbs online. We've also included a few of our favorite shops, so you have plenty of choices when it comes to buying bright, unique varieties from the comfort of your couch.

Top Picks

Home Depot Flower Bulbs
Credit: Courtesy of Home Depot

Home Depot

If you don't live near a nursery, ordering online from Home Depot is an easy solution. You can browse by color, bloom season, and even water requirements. Plus, Home Depot is a one-stop shop, which means you can add other home improvement essentials to your cart and streamline your experience.

Shop Now: Home Depot Flower Bulbs, price dependent on variety, homedepot.com.

Harry & David Bulb of the Month Club
Credit: Courtesy of Harry & David

Harry & David

You may associate Harry & David with fruit baskets, but they actually have a fantastic "bulb of the month" club. Each month, discover a different bulb ranging from classic tulips to exotic lilies; it's a perfect gift for anyone with a green thumb.

Shop Now: Harry & David Bulb of the Month Club, from $99 for three months, harryanddavid.com.

Brent and Becky's Bulb Collections
Credit: Courtesy of Brent and Becky's

Brent and Becky's Bulbs

This Virginia nursery is a family business run by Brent and Becky Heath, notes McDowell. "If you call for advice, you may get Brent or Becky on the phone," she says. "Their specialty is daffodils, but they have many other choices. I tried to find a hardy amaryllis for years, and finally found them from B&B. They shipped them freshly-dug and at the right time for planting."

Shop Now: Brent and Becky's Bulb Collections, price dependent on variety, brentandbeckysbulbs.com.

Van Engelen Bulbs
Credit: Courtesy of Van Engelen

John Scheepers and Van Engelen

"These are twin companies that supply the same high-quality Dutch bulbs from the same Connecticut address. John Scheepers is retail and Van Engelen offers bulk pricing for larger orders ($60 minimum)," explains McDowell. "John Scheepers and Van Engelen have never disappointed in quality or service." She also likes the "new varieties" section on their website, which is full of exciting plant types to discover and explore.

Shop Now: John Scheepers Bulbs, price dependent on variety, johnscheepers.com; Van Engelen Bulbs, from $60, vanengelen.com.

McClure & Zimmerman Bulbs
Credit: Courtesy of McClure & Zimmerman

McClure & Zimmerman

"In recent years, I've started seeking out more native bulbs to add to my garden. Things like trillium, bloodroot, and jack-in-the-pulpit," says McDowell. "These are hard to find because they are slow to grow, thus making them more expensive to propagate. McClure & Zimmerman has been a reliable source for these harder-to-find plants."

Shop Now: McClure & Zimmerman Bulbs, price dependent on variety, mzbulb.com.

Swan Island Dahlias Bulbs
Credit: Courtesy of Swan Island Dahlias

Swan Island Dahlias

McDowell personally loves dahlias and notes that Swan Island is the place to purchase tubers online. "Located in Canby, Oregon, this is a multi-generational family business. I hope to get there one day to see their 370+ varieties of dahlias in bloom," she shares.

Shop Now: Swan Island Dahlias Bulbs, price dependent on variety, dahlias.com.

Eden Brothers Bulbs
Credit: Courtesy of Eden Brothers

Eden Brothers

If you're looking for a huge selection of flower bulbs at an affordable price, Eden Brothers has a wide range of gorgeous options. Their selections also come with planting information, which can be helpful if you are new to gardening.

Shop Now: Eden Brothers Bulbs, price dependent on variety, edenbrothers.com.