The optimal time to plant bulbs in South Carolina depends on when the perennial bulbs flower. Spring flowers should be planted in late autumn of the previous year, while summer and fall bulbs should be planted in the spring of the same year.
Spring flowers such as tulips, irises and lily of the valley should be planted in November or early December. This will give the bulbs adequate time for the roots to develop in the ground at cool temperatures.
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Chinese ground orchids, starflower and start tulips are bulbs that flower in early summer and should be planted in November and December. These bulbs need more time to grow strong roots and flower after your spring bulbs are past their peak. Arrowroot and Farrow lillies should be planted in the spring, after the last frost and will blossom later in the summer.
Fire lillies, crocuses and hyacinth are fall-blooming perennials. These bulbs can be planted in the spring while the ground is still cool. Plant the bulbs after the last frost so the ground is conducive to the plant's growing root structure.
You can plant more than one bulb in the same location and have different flowers blossoming throughout the year. To do this, place the larger bulb 8 inches below the surface and the smaller bulb 5 inches below the surface.