Garden Catalog Review: Brent and Becky’s Bulbs

To be honest, I’ve never purchased anything from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, (I usually order bulbs from John Scheeper’s) but I feel justified in writing a review because they are enthusiastically recommended by one of my instructors at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Brent and Becky Heath with Jay and Denise Hutchins of Brent and Becky's Bulbs.
Brent and Becky Heath with Jay and Denise Hutchins of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.

And I should mention that Brent and Becky’s plants are grown organically on their 28 acre Virginia farm. Their website is here.

When we think of bulbs, what usually comes to mind are the tulips and other spring bloomers that we plant in the fall. Brent and Becky’s has those, but right now they have an intriguing catalog of summer blooming bulbs (as well as foliage plants) that can be planted in spring. Technically, most are not really bulbs, but tubers, corms, and rhizomes.

For example, I was goggle eyed by the selection of Caladiums. I like Caladiums very much as a foliage plant for shade, but they are expensive. I’ve tried overwintering them but without success. Brent and Becky’s sells five ‘Celebration’ Caladium tubers for just $10.85.

The catch is that you have to keep them inside in pots placed on heating pads until the soil warms. But never fear, Brent and Becky’s sells heat mats for $26.945.

Caladium 'Celebration'. Photo from Brent and Becky's Bulbs.
Caladium ‘Celebration’. Photo from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.

They also carry a large selection of Dahlias, Colocasias, Lilies, Gladioli, etc. There is also ‘Emily McKenzie’, a very distinctive and striking Crocosmia.

Brent and Becky’s carries a number of perennials that I’ve always believed had fibrous roots, but I don’t want to be picky. Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), for example, or Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana).

This catalog has serviceable photographs and straightforward descriptions as well as necessary cultural information. It crams a lot of selections into its 50 pages.

Have you ever ordered from Brent and Becky’s? Where do you usually obtain your bulbs?

44 Comments on “Garden Catalog Review: Brent and Becky’s Bulbs

  1. I have bought from Brent and Becky’s and have never been disappointed. They do carry some fibrous rooted perennials, but I’m pretty sure they sell them under the category of plants that will complement bulbs, i.e., plants to make combos with. They’re not trying to pass them off as bulbs or deliberately confuse people. On the website, each bulb usually has a list on the right of “Things that bloom at the same time.”

  2. In the past I’ve ordered bulbs from Scheepers and from McClure & Zimmerman, but the last couple of years I’ve ordered from ColorBlends and been very pleased with the results. I’ve also treated myself to some bulbs from Old Bulbs Gazette. They have some real beauties! I’ve not tried Brent & Beck’s before… I’ve been enjoying your catalog review. Thanks!

  3. I placed my first order with Brent and Becky’s Bulbs this fall (Anemone coronaria) and was very pleased with their service. I’m hoping the voles don’t read your blog–wouldn’t want them to find out.

  4. I love Brent and Becky’s! I have purchased dahlias among other things from them. I love their healthy tubers, and really love their fair price point. I am apt to buy more when I think the price is reasonable!

  5. 😉 I could never afford such a heating pad. But good tip about them using organic methods.

  6. I’ve never even heard of them. I always try to but all plants locally when I can but I live in a place where garden centers are common, so there isn’t any extra effort involved.
    I like caladiums too and used to grow them as houseplants during the winter doldrums. That doesn’t sound like a bad price.

  7. It is a good time to be thinking of summer planting….I always plant a month late, so thanks for the reminder!
    I like the idea of heatpads, we use them for sickly animals at the rescue, problem is, with the likes of me it would only be a matter of time before I forgot to re-heat them, probably on the coldest night !xxx

  8. I’ve met Brent and Becky several times, and I have been to their farm. They are good people who sell quality bulbs, and they know what the are talking about. What they don’t have are bargains, then again, you get what you pay for.

  9. All of my double peony flowered tulip bulbs came from B and B this fall. :o) I have high hopes for a wonderful spring display. I also ordered lily bulbs from them a few years ago and was very pleased with the lilies that grew the following summer. As for caladiums, they are one of the first bulbs I ever grew. I stuffed a bulb in a plastic container, stuck the container on a regular heating pad in a bright window and grew a caladium. It was absurdly easy.

  10. The daffodils I have in my yard are Brent and Becky originals, bought and planted in the early 90’s before they sold their company to White Flower Farm (I think that’s what happened). I was happy to see them return a few years later with their own business again. I actually have one of their books, Daffodils for American Gardens on my bookshelves.

  11. I’ve been ordering for a few years and am always happy. Great selection and top quality, so if that’s what you’re looking for this is the place. I ordered 5 of the “pink splash” caladiums btw in addition to a few other things. A gift certificate was burning a hole in my pocket 🙂

  12. I have purchased from Brent and Becky’s and found them to be very good…I have pretty high expectations so I am not easy to work with, I would not me as a customer. They worked right through all that and were very professional.

  13. Seems to me I did order something from Brent and Becky’s once, but I can’t remember what it was. Most of the time, I purchase plants, bulbs, and most garden supplies from local shops and nurseries. One exception is gardensalive.com. They have a full supply of organic gardening supplies. If I can’t create the organic treatment myself, I usually order from Gardens Alive. I love Brent and Becky’s catalogs, though!

  14. I have meant to order from them for years, because they have bulbs you can’t get elsewhere, at a reasonable price.

  15. I have purchased bulbs from Brent and Becky’s for several years, and have always been pleased with the bulbs and their service. I usually order online and like browsing through their website rather than the catalog. Interestingly, I had never ordered from John Scheeper’s until the fall of 2013, but I was pleased with them, too, and the prices seem a little lower. I think Brent and Becky’s has a wider selection, however.

  16. Folks who are bulb enthusiasts are quite familiar with Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. They are internationally known growers and hybridizers of daffodils in Tidewater VA but, almost above that, their goal in life is to educate… and they do it very, very well with lectures, programs, a teaching garden, books, videos, interviews. Your instructor at the Chicago Botanical Garden was wise. They ship quality bulbs and specialty plants…. and, hey, they do have nice sales!

  17. Like you, I buy from Scheepers and the wholesale Van Engelen but not Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. I have meant to order from them, but never did yet. I have heard they have a fine bulbs so one day…

  18. I ordered from them once for an unusual tulip and was quite pleased. I also love Scheepers and Van Engelen usually, but need to check out Brent and Becky’s more.

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