Q: Will the winter aconite bulbs I planted last fall survive our cold winter weather? --Deborah Brandt, Burr Ridge A: It's unlikely this year's especially cold weather will interfere with the winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) bulbs you planted last fall. Hardy to Zone 3, established winter aconite plants can tolerate temperatures down to 40 degrees below zero, well below the coldest temperatures experienced in the Chicago area so far this winter. Your newly planted bulbs should be among the earliest spring-flowering bulbs to bloom if they were properly planted in well-drained soil with enough time before cold weather arrived for roots to become well established. Roots anchor bulbs in the soil, protecting them from being heaved from the ground during freeze-thaw cycles. Winter aconite is a resilient, wildlife-resistant plant. You might be able to enjoy its cheery yellow, buttercuplike flowers while a little snow is still on the ground.
Robin Carlson, Chicago Botanic Garden