Favorite Flowering Bulbs
Flowering bulbs are not always bulbs…sometimes they are corms, or tubers, but we usually designate plants that grow from an underground food storage unit as a “bulb”. They are grouped as geophytes, herbaceous plants with underground nutrient storage. They all require a period of dormancy.
True bulbs are a food storage unit for the flower and plant, they have a “tunicate” papery sleeve around the outside. Examples are tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, alliums, and grape hyacinths.
Corms are food stored in the base of the stem with a papery tunic covering. They have a bottom, basal plate, and a top, the growing point. Crocus, spring and autumn, are examples of corms.
Rhizomes are food storage swellings that grow horizontally under the soil. Iris, Ginger, and Lily of the Valley are examples.
Tubers do not have the basal plate or the tunic covering- examples are Anemones, Cyclamen, and many of the summer flowering “bulbs” like dahlias and tuberous begonias.
A few notes about “true bulbs”
A true bulb contains a flower bud inside, a miniature though colorless version of the flower. The color develops with light exposure. The energy for the entire plant is stored inside the bulb, which is why tulips, hyacinths and the like can be forced into bloom in the winter time. Changes in temperature cause the bulb plants to grow, putting down roots in the fall, going dormant during cold wintry months, emerging as the temperatures warm in the spring. A time of refrigeration mimics these stages in bulbs prepared for forcing.
My Youtube Bulb Growing Tutorials
(brand new project!)
A few notes about “corms and tubers”
Corms and tubers need a bit more sustenance from their soil- good soil fertility and more moisture. they also have a dormant period , and that is when they are planted. Some of them can be hard to figure out: which is the bottom and which is the top? Crocus corms are like a flattened chocolate drop, a tiny growing point cues you in to the top of the corm. Many summer flowering bulbs are corms or tubers.
See these pages, which include relevant links, tips, and garden ideas:
- General Bulb Growing Information Includes a list of minor bulbs, their descriptions, when they bloom, and whether I like them.
- Growing Tulips and Daffodils in Your Garden with ideas on “layering” bulbs for garden impact.
- Just Tulips because I love them. Lists and descriptions of tulip categories, underplanting and overplanting them for spring garden pictures.
- 5 Steps to Dazzling Daffodils
Dutch bulbs are some of the first things I planted when starting out gardening on my own, and no wonder, since they are among the easiest, most satisfactory blooming plants for your landscape. Thanks to the Holland bulb industry! Once started, you soon find out there are lots of innovative designs using them, and following a few tips and techniques will give you a spring landscape bursting with blooms and fragrance. Don’t stop with bulbs, add in spring flowering shrubs, too.
Articles on Spring Flowering Bulbs
5 Favorite Small Spring Bulbs
- Quick Tips on Dutch Bulbs: Tulips | Daffodils | Crocus | Hyacinths | Alliums
- My Favorite Tulips
- How to Stretch The Bloom Season using Daffodils as one example
- Think Bulbs when it is still summer. Time to order bulbs for fall planting
- Fall Garden Tips
Bulbs are for Indoors, too
It is a time honored tradition to force bulbs for winter bloom. They are very obliging and it is easy to have color on your windowsills even in the darkest, coldest of winter months.
Consider gathering a collection of bulb pans to showcase such easy bloomers as paperwhites or Amaryllis.
Lily of the Valley pips, tulip and crocus bulbs are favorites – in the case of tulips, some varieties are better suited for forcing. (See the tulips pages for more info).
Menu of Other Plants: