Outdoor Bulb Planting Tips
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Planting a bulb garden has many advantages. For one, they are easy to plant and even easier to care for. Hundreds of beautiful flowers are available in bulb form and as each spring arrives, you will begin to see brightly colored flowers that confirm spring has arrived.

With a bulb, the actual plant is kept safe and secure, protected from the harsh elements of the wintertime. When the bulb is dormant, food is stored to sustain the plant. This ensures the plant inside is fed all the needed nutrients so when it is time for spring, you enjoy a beautiful, blooming flower. Bulbs are broken down into four different categories:
  • Corm � This includes the Gladioli and Crocuses

  • Rhizome � In this category, you would find the Bearded Iris and Cannas

  • True Bulb � This category covers Daffodils, Hyacinths, and Tulips

  • Tuberous Root or Tuber � Within this category are Begonias and Dahlias
As you begin to shop for bulbs, you will find that they are listed as hardy or tender. With the hardy bulbs, you will find they are more tolerant to the cold and able to survive in the ground during the cold winter months very well. To produce the best plants, the hardy bulbs need to cold time. For this reason, trying to grow a hardy bulb in Southern California or Arizona is not a good option. You would be planting new bulbs about every two years. To plant hardy bulbs, they go in the ground in the fall and by springtime, are producing gorgeous colorful flowers.

For tender bulbs, they tend to be much more sensitive to cold and cannot survive harsh winter zones. Therefore, if living in Southern California, Arizona, or other Southern coastal or southwest regions choose this type of bulb. To enjoy the most gorgeous blooms, you want to choose tender bulbs that are large and firm. If you see a few small nicks, you have no need to worry but if the bulb has definite soft spots or moldy spots, then avoid it.

Each type of bulb has a different blooming cycle. Additionally, the sequence of the bloom is dependant on the weather and the bulb variety. If you want to enjoy flowers from bulbs starting in early spring and taking you all the way to fall, you can plant a nice mix. To give you an idea of some great choices, the following is a good starting guide:
  • Very Early Spring � Crocus and Snowdrop

  • Early Spring � Crocus, Daffodil, and Hyacinth

  • Mid Spring � Daffodil, Fritillary, and Tulip

  • Late Spring � Bluebell, Fritillary, and Lily

  • Early Summer � Alium, Irish, and Lily

  • Mid Summer � Dahlia, Gladiola, Iris, and Lily

  • Late Summer � Dahlia and Lily
You will also discover that bulbs come in two primary shapes. The first is the clawed and the second is the teardrop. The clawed bulb, also called a flat bulb is planted with the flat side up and any roots down. The teardrop bulb is planted with the tip up. By choosing a variety of bulb types, come springtime, you will have an amazing garden to enjoy.
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