Q Where's the best place to buy bulbs?
A If you’re bulk-buying spring-flowering bulbs, or looking for a particular variety, we recommend ordering online from a specialist bulb suppliers.
If you want a popular variety, garden centres offer good-quality bulbs – we recommend Gedney and Kapiteyn – which you can check for damage before you buy. Be wary of open boxes as these often get mixed up as people shop.
Caption: Garden centres usually start selling bulbs in August
Q What are my rights if I get the wrong bulb variety?
A If you discover you were sold the wrong bulb variety, under the Consumer Rights Act 2015
– which requires goods to match any description given by the seller – you can ask for a refund (you may be able to argue that you have more than the usual 30 days from which you took ownership of the bulbs (this could be the date of purchase or the date the bulbs were delivered to you) if you couldn't know there was a problem with the plant until it flowered or fruited) or a replacement (sent at the seller's expense).
If your bulbs are not of 'satisfactory quality' (mouldy or shrivelled), the Act says you are entitled to a refund as long as you notified the retailer of the problem within a ‘reasonable time’ – so let them know as soon as the bulbs arrive.
Q Is the size of bulb important?
A When we trialled this we ordered bulbs in a range of shapes and sizes.
Some of the daffodil bulbs were very large, and had two growing tips or extra flowering stems (bulblets) attached to the side. This was particularly noticeable on the ‘Tête-à-tête’ daffodils, though most just gave us extra leaves because the bulblets were blind.
Other daffodil bulbs were very small and a few were shrivelled. All of the smaller ones flowered successfully, but out of the 10 shrivelled ones we planted, only three emerged.
Our advice for daffodils is to look for firm bulbs with unbroken skin, and don't worry too much about the size – there is no advantage in choosing very large bulbs.
Caption: Don't worry about size when choosing daffodils
The tulip bulbs also varied in size, but not as much as the daffodils. In this case, the larger bulbs produced better flowers – so we would recommend you look for large, firm bulbs when shopping for tulips.