As a hobby/side job I am wanting to grow cut flowers to sell at the local farmers market. Being that it is my first year trying such an adventure I'm sure I'll learn a lot of things that I wished I would have known in the beginning. Case in point is that K.Van Bourgondien had just such awesome deals on lilies...now I know why, they filed for bankruptcy last week. I'm not counting on receiving those bulbs and need to place a new order. I've searched through Garden Watchdog (see, I learned my lesson) and have looked through the top 10 rated websites. I managed to find a 150 bulb assortment of Asiatics and some stargazer lilies at a Touch of Nature that should work for me, unfortunately just missed out on their bulb co-op. I'm at an awkward size where I need more than 3 and less than 1000 bulbs. I'd like to pay around $1-$2 a bulb and need to find some oriental lilies. Do you have any recommendations? I don't have my nursery or business license yet, which is required for the true wholesale sites. Might have to break down and get those...just wanted to wait closer to Spring and the start of market. I also don't need 100 of the same variety at this point. Any advice or suggestions of businesses that you have dealt with would be greatly appreciated.
Scheepers and Van Engelen (same owner) the latter does more bulk bulbs at good prices. I would also suggest you contact bleek at Touch of Nature to see what he could do for you. He's a very nice man, and sends nice sized bulbs that are packaged well.
I checked out Sheepers and Van Engelen...but everything says sold out. Do they only ship in the fall? So glad to hear that a Touch of Nature is great to do business with. They contacted me right away to let me know that the co-op is sold out and offered good suggestions. I did order the asiatics and stargazers from them. Just looking for a source for a variety of other oriental lilies. Thanks for the quick reply!
You're so welcome. Try calling Van Engelen to see what they say. I planted lily bulbs from bleek's co-op last spring and had blooms from all of the bulbs last summer. The Lily Garden, B&D lilies, and Faraway Flowers are also good sources of lilies that others on the lily threads have mentioned. Check out their websites, and always check the Garden Watchdog before you order. I'm glad ToN was helpful.
Dairy girls, if you have a Costco near you, you can be vigilant and check their bulb supply. They have have nicer and much better quality bulbs than the unnamed big box stores. The vigilant part is that their best bulbs sell out first; they actually seem to fly right off the shelves. Then you need to plant them asap.
Also, while it is not a true lilium, you might want to consider zantedschia lilies (calla lilies). The blooms last for a few weeks, the colors are beautiful and the blooms are probably very salable. However, they do not winter in zone 6a and would need to be pulled whereas lilies do not.
The black zantedeschias have dark stems and pretty foliage.
Thanks Cathy, I've bought fall bulbs at Costco a few years back and know that my local one also carries them in the Spring...didn't even think about them. Usually the quality is good if you get them when they first arrive (as you suggested). I ended up getting Asiatics with Touch of Nature and others at B and D lilies...while not wholesale, I ordered the collections and sets and got a good price overall. In the process I found some plant co-ops that were just finishing up with lilies but I've been able to get in on some perennial orders. I actually just ordered some Calla lilies from a co-op to try too! After all my searching it looks like Van Bourgondien is still planning on shipping this Spring- so I'll have LOTS of lilies!
Our local farmer's markets don't allow us to resell wholesale products and I wouldn't anyway...since that is not the point of a farmers market. If you leave 1/2 to 2/3 of the stem then the bulb will have enough foliage to rebuild the bulb. I may not cut many of these first year bulbs if they don't have the height to offer any stem length. With irrigation, long fall seasons and letting the stem stay till its completely brown my lilies have always bloomed just as nicely the next year after being cut.