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Bulbs Tips

Read these 44 Bulbs Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about English Garden tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How do I grow Lilies?

An Introduction To Lilies

Lilies have the reputation for being difficult to grow. They, in general are amongst the easiest of bulbous plants provided you give them the conditions they enjoy.
Left alone they will multiply and provide better displays of flamboyant with each passing year.

How do I force Hyacinth bulbs?

How To Force Hyacinths.

The fantastic, even Hyacinth blooms you see in pictures are a bit of a cheat....they are not grown in the fancy bowls! The bulbs are planted in individual 31/2" pots and planted in the bowls when part grown.
Now, here are the secrets to growing perfect sweet smelling indoor hyacinths:
(1) For the earliest flowers , choose "prepared" bulbs. Unprepared bulbs can be used for later flowering
(2) Choose the biggest bulbs of the best forcing varieties: "Pink Pearl","Ostara"(blue),
"Carnegie" (white),"Jan Bos",(reddish pink),"Gypsy Queen"(salmon orange),
"Lady Derby" flesh pink, "Bismarck" (light blue)
(3) Use ordinary potting compost.
(5)Don't use mixed colors or small bedding bulbs.
(4)Pot the bulbs into small, individual pots. Water in well and place out-doors. Cover the pots with a 6" layer of peat or peat-free compost. Hyacinths need a 12-14week cool period to produce roots.
(5)After 12 weeks, check on the bulbs .You will see yellow shoots-if these measure one and a half inch to two inches, they are ready to come indoors.If shorter than this, cover them up again and re-check in another two weeks.
(by the time the shoots are this size,the flower bud has cleared the neck of the bulb) If you bring the bulbs indoors when the shoots are shorter,the leaves will grow to hide the flowers. Leaving them outdoors too long leads to tall blooms that fall over.
(6)To get the best even height flowers,put bulbs with the same size shoots in the same bowl!
(7)Pot the bulbs into your fancy bowls, again using ordinary compost.Place on a bright, but cool window-sill, and only water when the compost surface is drying out.
(8)Within three weeks, your bulbs will be in bloom.
When the bulbs have finished blooming, plant them out doors, where they will bloom again in two years time. Don't re-use the bulbs for forcing as they are exhausted.
This method works equally as well for forcing tulips and narcissus.

How do I grow Gladiolas?

Gladiolus: Large Flowered Hybrids

The familiar large flowering Gladiolus available in all colours except true blue and black.
Will easily grow to 4' tall, depending on the variety. Excellent for cutting and general garden display.
Aspect: Full sun / semi shade. Soil Type: Well drained ordinary garden soil..
Plant 6" deep in groups of 5 or 7, from late March till May for blooming July till October.
In cold regions or if you want earlier flowers, pot up some corms in pots in the Glasshouse from February onwards and plant outdoors when all danger of frost is past in your area.

How deeply should I plant Lilies?

How Deep To Plant Lilies

Most lilies as a means of anchorage, develop roots along the base of the stem as well as the bulb base.. Others, called basal rooters , produce roots only at the bulb base only
The stem rooters require deep planting, but bulb producers now recommend that all lilies should be planted 6"deep.

When can I plant Tulips?

Planting Tulip Bulbs.

Tulip bulbs are planted in the fall, between September and Late November.
The best time is November, as their is less chance of fungal attacks in cool soil.
Buy the largest bulbs in single colors for the best results and plant in groups of 5 or seven.
Take out a hole around six inches deep and a foot wide. Space out the bulbs and cover over.
As bulbs are food stores, there is no need to add any special bulb food.

What should I do to pretreat my tulips for forcing?

Give Bulbs A Chill

Before you try to force bulbs for indoor gardening, be sure to give them a chill. A refrigerator works great for this!

How do I grow Lily bulbs?

TheTrumpet Lilies.

The classic outward facing type. Here is a list of some of the best.
Lilium "African Queen": Warm apricot . Flowering July-August. 5 ft
Lilium regale: White flushed yellow. Flowering July. 4 ft.
Lilium "Pink Perfection" Deep pink. Flowering July. 5 ft
Lilium "Green Magic": Greenish white. Flowering July. 6 ft.
Lilium "Golden Splendour": Deep golden yellow with a purple stripe on the reverse of each petal. Flowering July. 5 ft

How do I grow Lilies?

Ideal Conditions for Lilies.

Moist, but free draining, slightly acidic soil is best. A sunny position , with shade at the roots suits them and this can be provided by planting them beneath low growing shrubs

When do I plant tulips?

When To Plant : Rockery/Species Tulips

The small flowered botanical or species types such as Tulipa tarda, Tulipa batalini, Tulipa marjoletti and Tulipa acuminata should be planted during September/ October. Their small bulbs deteriorate quickly in high store temperatures.

What if it´s past the best time to plant bulbs in my area?

Don't Wait To Plant Until Next Year

If you miss the optimal planting time, don't wait for spring or next fall. Bulbs do not store as well as seeds and they will not survive out of the ground indefinitely. Even if it's January or February, plant them and take your chances. You can always force them indoors or plant them in pots and refrigerate them until spring.

How do I grow Lily bulbs?

Providing The Best Drainage for your Lilies.

To provide drainage and deter slugs, always put a handful of sharp sand around each lily bulb when planting.

Is there an easy way to grow Begonias?

Begonia: Tuberous Varieties From Seed/ Young Plants.

During the last twenty years or so, the growing of Tuberous Begonias for bedding out, has become easier and cheaper by the introduction of varieties that can be raised from seed. The revolution started with the "Non-Stop" type.
Seed sowing of these types is a little difficult for the amateur grower, but as the professionals can raise thousands of plants at a much more reasonable cost. This means cheaper plants for the home grower and has raised the popularity of tuberous Begonias to a new high.
The Amatuer can buy part grown plug plants for growing on during late Spring, or fully grown plants to go straight into the garden in early summer.
You can even buy "Non-Stop"Begonia tubers in late winter.
Whichever way you chose to grow them, the "Non-Stops" will produce tubers that can be lifted in fall and reused the following year.
Look out for:
Begonia "Non-Stop.": Availible in exiting designer mixes and separate colours.
Begonia "Ornament Mixed": Beautiful "Non-Stop."type blooms, but with bronze foliage.

How do I store my Dahlias over winter?

Storing Dahlia Tubers.

Here are my 5 easy to follow tips for success with over-wintering Dahlias

(1) Label all your plants, before the frost makes them unidentifiable
(2) Enjoy your Dahlias till the frost blackens them, then...
(3) Cut the stems back to 6"
(4) In a cool dry place , turn the tubers upside down(upturned tomato boxes make good props). Excess moisture will drain from the hollow stem.
(5) After 2 to 3 wks,clean up the tubers by removing the old soil and cutting the main stem down to a couple of inches. Also cut off any thin roots.
(6) Store the tubers upright in shallow boxes of dry peat in a frost free place till spring.

What is the history of the Tulip?

Tulips : A Potted History

The Tulip was introduced to Western Europe in 1554. A Flemish diplomat had seen Tulips at the court of Sultan Soloman the Magnificent. tulip bulbs were dispatched to Vienna and subsequently inrotoduced to the Netherlands.
Tulip bulb and cut flower production has since then remained a very important part in the Dutch economy.
During the 17th Century, there was enormous economic speculation in striped and flamed types of tulip which resulted in Tulipmania.

How do I grow Lily bulbs?

Short Growing Oriental Lilies.

At around one foot tall, these trumpet types are excellent in pots. All bloom during August.
Lilium "Mr Ed": Gorgeous clear white.
Lilium "Mr Ruud": White and yellow.
Lilium "Mr Sam" : White heavily spotted rose pink.

how do I grow Double Begonias?

Begonia: Tuberous Hybrids.

Not to be confused with the fibrous semperflorens type of Begonia, the tuberous,(or Belgian), types have large , often double flowers in many jewel like colours. A first class bedding /patio tub plant for a cool, shady area in the garden.
In the cooler climates, the dormant tubers are best started into growth in the greenhouse or windowsill.
Place the tubers round side down in trays of peat, in gentle heat during March.
Whenever the new shoots reach 2" or 3" tall, pot the tubers up into individual 4" pots, using potting compost.
In late May, harden the plants off and plant out in the garden for a spectacular display.
In warmer regions, the dormant tubers can be planted straight into the garden from late April.

What do I need for forciong bulbs?

Essential Items

Here is a listing of what you will need for forcing bulbs:
a variety of pots in various sizes and shapes
potting mix
labels and marking pens
a calendar
newspapers or other "throw-away" material to work on

What are the best Begonias for my hanging baskets?

Begonia: Tuberous Varieties For Hanging Baskets.

In recent years pendulous types have been greatly improved, by the introduction of seed raised varieties such as "Illumination," "Panorama," and "Musical," in separate or mixed colours.
Tubers can be purchased in early spring, or young plug plants in Late Spring.
As with the "Non-Stop" types tubers are formed in the Autumn and can be lifted and stored over winter for reuse the following year.

Are Tulips hardy?

Tulip Facts

Tulips, like Irises are availible in almost any colour that you can imagine.
The Tulip is amongst the most hardy of spring bulbs, hardier even than Narcissi and Hyacinths, a fact that belies their mainly Turkish origins.

What are bulbs?

A Bulb Or Not A Bulb?: That is the Question!

Many plants sold as "Bulbs," botanically are not. For those of you who like to know these things, here are the definitions and a few examples of each type:

Bulb: A modified,much shortened shoot, enclosed by scale leaves and used to store food.
Examples: Lillies and Crinums.

Corm: Swollen stem base, used to store food.
Examples: Gladioli and Freesias.

Tuber: Modified swollen roots, used to store food.
Examples: Dahlias and Begonia.

Rhizome: A modified stem with scale leaves growing at or below ground level.
Examples: Clivia and Canna.

What are the best Summer flowering bulbs?

Crocosmia: Montbrietia.

Crocosmias are a valuable group of late flowering corms with imposing sword shaped foliage, which in itself provides a much needed vertical aspect to any border. Flower spikes rise to 5 ft, depending on the variety and come in shades of orange. flame and red.
Aspect: full sun. Soil Type: Well drained ordinary garden soil.
Plant in groups during April.

How are Narcissi classified?

Daffodils and Narcissi.

The true harbingers of spring, the genus Narcissus is classified botanically into 12 groups, from the tiny rockery species to the large trumpet daffodils.

When should I buy bulbs?

Buying Bulbs

Sometimes it is necessary to shop early to get the bulbs you want. Most mail order sources will ship at the appropriate planting time but with retail stores, it's another story. If you buy your bulbs early, store them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

Which are the best large-flowering Gladioli?

Gladiolus: Recommended Large Flowering Cultivars.

The following are easily grown Gladioli , that are good for general garden display, cutting or exhibiting:
Oscar : Red with a white throat.
Aloha : Pale pink, marked rose.
Arabian Night: Scarlet.
Chiquita: Yellow.
Peter Pears: Orange with a red throat.
Uganda: Crimson.
Princess Margaret Rose: Ochre edged Scarlet.
Lowland Queen: White with a deep pink throat.
My Love: White with beautiful red stipes.
Madonna : Lilac with a white throat.
Video: Purple with a small white throat.
Esta Bonita: Apricot.
Green Woodpecker: Chatreuse green with a maroon throat.

How do I grow Lilies?

Short Growing Asiatics Asiatic Lilies

Full sized flowers on half sized plants. Stunning in containers! All June/ July bloomers.
Lilium "Apollo": Cream with a pink flush to the outside of the petals. 18"
Lilium "Cote D'Azur": Pinky-red with brown spots. 14"
Lilium "Elvin's Son": Bright, clear yellow. 12"
Lilium "Harmony": Luminous orange with brown spots. 18"
Lilium " Red Carpet": Vivid vemillion red.14"

When do I plant Lilies?

When To Plant Lilies

Weather permitting, liles can be planted from November to April. The latter is advisable if you either live in a cold region or you have heavy soil that lies wet over the winter.

What are the best types of double begonia?

Begonia: Tuberous Varieties.

There are many marvelous,(And very expensive!), Named varieties of tuberous Begonia, which are really for the show- bench and are best grown to perfection in the cool , shaded greenhouse.
For general garden display and at a price that will not break the bank, it is more usual to use unnamed mixtures or separate colours, but look out also for the following:
Begonia fimbriata: Beautiful carnation-like, frilly edged, blooms in mixed colours.
Begonia Trumpet Flowered: A range of lovely colours.The blooms have unusual form.
Begonia pendula: A single-flowered trailing type in separate colours.
Begonia crispa "Marginata": Large, single flowers in red edged whiteor yellow edged red.
Begonia Picotee Apricot: Apricot edged rose-pink.
Begonia "Marmorata": Fascinating blooms of red striped white.

What are the best orange colored , late summer bulbs.

Crocosmia: Recommended Cultivars.

Crocosmia "Emily Mckenzie": Compact variety growing to 2 ft . blooms are deep orange with a mahogany throat.
Crocosmia "Lucifer": 3 ft tall. Deep reddish-orange blooms.
Crocosmia masonorum : 5 ft tall. Burnt orange coloured blooms.
Crocosmia "Citronella": 3 ft tall. Golden yellow coloured blooms.
Crocosmia "Bressingham Blaze": 2 ft 6" tall. Flame coloured blooms.
Crocosmia "Jackanapes": Compact; 18" tall. Beautiful bicoloured blooms in orange and yellow.

When do I plant tulips?

When To Plant : Large Flowered Hybrid Tulips.

the vast majority of tulips: Single Early, Single Late, Darwin Hybrids,
Lily tulips, Double early, Triumph, Parrots, Viridiflora, Rembrandts,Kaufmanniana, Waterlily, Multiflowered, Fosteriana and Greigii are best planted during November. This lessens the chances of the bulbs being infected by rots and tulip fire.

How do I store Dahlias for Winter?

How To Store Dahlias For Winter.

Follow these tips for success with over wintering Dahlia tubers.

(1) Label all your plants, before the frost.
(2) Enjoy your Dahlias till the frost blackens them.
(3) Cut the stems back to 6".
(4) In a cool dry place , turn the tubers upside down ,(upturned
tomato boxes make good props). Excess moisture drains from
the hollow stem.
(5) After 2 to 3 wks, clean up the tubers by removing the old
soil and cutting the main stem down to a couple of inches. also
cut off any thin roots.
(6)Store the tubers upright in shallow boxes of dry peat in a
frost free place.

How do I grow Lily bulbs?

Plant Lilies In Groups.

Rather than planting the bulbs singly, provide a more natural effect by planting in groups of 3, 5 or 7.

How do I grow Lily bulbs?

Lilies, The Asiatic Hybrids.

Early bloomers with sturdy stems and upward facing blooms.All flower during June.
Lilium "Conneticut King": Yellow flowers in June. 2.5 ft
Lilium " Mont blanc": White flowers during June. 2.5 ft
Lilium " Silly Girl": Pink merging to cream with a deep purple centre and spots. 2.5 ft
Lilium " Corina": Lovely paprika red. 4 ft.
Lilium "Avignon" Burnt orange.

How do I grow Lily bulbs?

Incorporate Organic Matter Before Planting Lilies

Dig the border deeply and incorporate garden compost or , better still leaf mould. Never use animal manure as it can introduce fungal diseases to the bulbs. Equally don't use peat as lilies dislike over acidic conditions.

Can I start bulbs from seeds?

Bulbs Can Be Started By Seed

Starting bulbs from seeds can be a long, slow process. Although it can be done, many bulbs will not bloom for two to three years after they have germinated.
One exception to this rule is the Blackberry Lily which does produce blooms the first season.

What bulbs offer fragrance?

Fragrant Bulbs

For fragrance in the garden, choose any combination of the following bulbs.
Crocus versicolor or biflorus
Scilla hispanica
Fritillaria imperialis

How do I look after my Hyacinth bowl?

The Hyacinth Bowl

The Hyacinth Bowl.
A seasonal favorite which often has a fern planted in the middle.
Keep in good light and preferably in cool conditions.When the blooms fade transplant the bulbs into the garden , where they will eventually recover from the forcing process and bloom again outdoors in a couple of years. Pot on the fern and grow on in the kitchen / bathroom.

Why do Snowdrops never establish in my garden?

Establishing Snowdrops In Your Garden.

Very small bulbs such as Snowdrops and Winter Aconites do not establish well when grown from fall planted dry bulbs.
Often, these little bulbs dehydrate in high store temperatures, before you even buy them.
What's the solution? pot grown bulbs in spring as they transplant and establish easily at that time.

How do I grow tulips?

Tulips: Types Availible.

There are Tulips to suit all gardens from the 4" tall Tulipa tarda to the 3 ft tall Darwin Hybrids.
Fantastically exotic parrots, lily flowering, peony flowering, green tulips, the list is endless. All have one thing in common, they are easy to grow.

When should I plant my spring flowering bulbs?

When To Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs

Making sure you plant at an optimum time is the key to success with your bulbs. Ideally, plant these bulb six weeks before you get a hard, ground-freezing frost in your area. This gives them time to root and establish themselves. Planting bulbs too early can lead to rot, fungus or disease.

How do I tell the difference between Daffodils and Narcissi?

Daffodils Or Narcissi?

How do you tell the difference between Daffodils and Narcissi?
The trumpet of true Daffodil is at least as long as the outer petals.
If the trumpet is shorter it's a Narcissus.

How do I grow Lilies?

Pixie Lilies.

The pixies are often forced into bloom early and sold as house plants. They do make good garden plants also, where the natural blooming period is June and July. 15".
Lilium "Butter Pixie": Clear yellow.
Lilium "Orange Pixie" : Indian orange.
Lilium "Peach Pixie" : Apricot pink.
Lilium "Pink Pixie" : Rose pink.
Lilium "Bel Ami" : White.

Which are the best Gladiolas?

Gladiolus: Small Flowering Hybrids.

These include the "Butterfly" Gladioli and many people find them less vulgar than the large flowering sorts.
They are easier to place in the garden as the smaller stature and less densely packed flower spikes do not have the regimented appearance of their more blousy cousins.
Blooms are often attractively matched and the petals have wavy edges. The colour range is wide and includes many attractive bicolours.
Aspect: full sun / semi shade. Soil Type: Well drained ordinary garden soil.
Plant in groups of 5 in the border, 4" deep from late March onwards.
It is a good idea to plant several batches for a succession of bloom.

Are summer bulbs easy to grow?

Gladiolus callianthus: The Ethiopian Gladiolus

An excellent, easily grown species type that was formerly known as Acidanthera. Grows to 3 ft tall .
Aspect: Full sun / semi shade. Soil Type: Well drained ordinary garden soil.
Each stem bears around 7-10 white blooms with a maroon throat and unusually for a Gladiolus is sweetly scented.
Plant 4" deep during April/May for September to November blooms.

Are there any winter blooming bulbs besides the typical ones?


A late winter or early spring bloomer that caught my eye was the Babiana or Baboon-Root as it is commonly called. Hailing from South Africa, this cormous plant is from the Iris family. It is a low-growing plant and the blooms come in shades of pink, lilac, red or purple, with clusters of six or so per plant. This plant prefers temperatures of 50 to 55 degrees.

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Guru Spotlight
Christina Chan