Free Tulip Bulbs in Oak Brook 2019

Have you seen all of the gorgeous tulips at the Oakbrook Center? Year after year they dig all of them up (usually after Mother’s Day) and offer them to the community so we can all enjoy them in our own yards! Get all the details below about when Oakbrook Mall is giving away free tulips, where to go, what to expect, tips, and even what to do with the bulbs once you get home.

When and Where to Get Free Tulips at Oakbrook Center

This year, the tulip drop will be on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 8:30 am. All of the tulips will already be pulled and in a dump truck like in years past.

The free tulip bulbs will be dumped in the outer parking lot of Oakbrook Center between the first and second entrance to the mall off of Kingery (Route 83), called the Brown Lot. In other words, if you are looking at the front door of Pinstripes it will be to the left and across the entrance street to the mall. I know that sounds confusing, but you’ll know what I’m talking about when you get there and I’m sure people will be congregating in the area that went last year. Oakbrook Center reserves the right to change the location; I will update this information if I hear otherwise. However, it has been in this location for years and I talked with Oakbrook Center management today, who confirmed that it will continue to be there.

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What To Expect

Everyone lines up on either side of where they will be putting the bulbs, the truck comes and dumps them more or less in a line across the parking lot. Then one of the guys will say “go” and everyone takes what they would like. One year I left my kids at home because I didn’t know how it would be, but people definitely did bring their kids and it seemed that the people working for the mall were very kind to the moms and dads, putting piles in front of them so they didn’t have to get in the mess, but that is not guaranteed.

Please know that for the most part you will not be able to tell what color the tulips are because the flowers usually fall off by the time they get to the parking lot. You can see red pedals in the photo above, but that’s only because the heads of the tulips fall off in transport if they haven’t fallen off already, so that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the flower color the bulbs will produce.


Bring something to put the bulbs in. You can lay a blanket down, put it right next to the pile and scoop the bulbs onto your blanket, then tie it up and put it in your trunk. Or bring a laundry basket or some sort of box to throw them in. Bags don’t seem to work that well because you have to worry about opening them up to put the flowers in… and it goes really fast!

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Go early. Please keep in mind that you might have to wait a little bit regardless because they have to make their way with the truck from the tulips beds to the outer parking lot. However, please don’t assume it will be delayed and risk it by going late because like I said, it’s over in a few minutes (similar to kids Easter egg hunts!).

Be courteous. All of you on the Kidlist Facebook Page, Instagram, email list, and readers I have met out and about have been so incredibly nice, so I doubt I even have to say this, but please be kind to the staff and others going for the tulips. Oakbrook Center is so generous to let us take the bulbs for free so let’s all be patient with each other in the process!

How to Store Tulip Bulbs

If you plant tulip bulbs right now the animals are much more likely to dig them up and eat them. The freshly dug dirt attracts animals and the roots won’t be established, making it really easy to take and eat. So we recommend that you wait until the fall to plant.

First, lay the tulips out to dry. Do not cut off the stem or leaves- letting the plant die back naturally allows the nutrients to go back into the bulb. You can lay them out in your garage,  basement or tie and hang them. It’s best if you line them up without touching so the air can circulate around each one. Once the green part dies back and turns yellow, you can take it off and store the bulbs.

The best way to store them is in brown paper bags or boxes. Mix the bulbs with wood chips or wood shavings to absorb any moisture that could get into the bag. (If the moisture remains, the bulbs will rot and be worthless.) Place the paper bags in your basement or another dark, cool place until you are ready to plant before the ground freezes in the fall to be completely satisfied with your blooming tulips in the spring.

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Free Tulips at Oakbrook Mall
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 8:30 am
Oakbrook Center
100 Oakbrook Center
Oak Brook, IL 60523

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About the Author

Annie Tandy
Annie loves making great memories with her kids and started Kidlist in 2011 so she can help others do the same! Besides finding fun and exciting things to do, Annie, her husband, and their kids enjoy caring for their chickens and hanging out with them in the backyard. Click here to read about Annie's chickens and see pictures! She also finds joy in gardening, home improvement projects, knitting, soap making, and painting along with being active in her community, church, and as a board member of the Western Springs Business Association. Click here to follow Annie on Instagram.

9 Comments on "Free Tulip Bulbs in Oak Brook 2019"

  1. myplotofsunshine | May 10, 2016 at 3:03 pm | Reply

    I love this! Good to know! And I’m so glad you shared what to do with them next because I wouldn’t have had a clue!

  2. This was fun and interesting. I met some very nice people while waiting for the drop of the tulips. All I met found out about this through facebook contacts. lol You did see the seasoned professionals there with their bins of all shapes and sizes and rubber gloves. lol I did bring a box and that worked great. When the truck started to dump by me I scoped out a pile. When the officer said it was good to go after the truck left I went to the pile with my box scooping up all I could. Then when I scooped as much of the pile in I shoved the rest of the pile in the box. There is a lot of mud so don’t were white shoes like I did. lol Be prepared to get a little dirty. I enjoyed this very much. A little boy was very enthralled with the two worms I found. lol Not sure about his mom though.

  3. Cathy Juarez | May 11, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Reply

    Thank you so much for the info and additional outing possibilities.

  4. Kristen Hughes | April 29, 2017 at 6:19 pm | Reply

    Do you know if they are going to do this again? We are helping a girl’s group home with a beautification project and something like this would be an amazing blessing for them!

  5. Do you know if the mall is doing this again this year?

  6. Nellene Fletcher | May 12, 2018 at 11:33 am | Reply

    Thanks so much for the update, went last year for the first time and love to see the beautiful results this year.

  7. Hi Annie,
    Thank you so much for following up on the tulip drop information. Your blog is great!

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