True bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers all have one thing in common: They each need a dormant or rest period following their time of active growth and bloom. Some bulbs need a summer dormancy (tulip); others rest in winter (canna). You can grow any type of bulb in your garden as long as you provide the right dormant period. That’s why northern zone gardeners dig tender bulbs, such as calla lily or canna—to give them a winter dormancy. Understanding how true bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers grow helps you to give these bulb beauties the TLC they need to thrive and blossom, year after year.
Lily bulbs lack an outer protective, papery layer. They’re often sold packed in sawdust or peat moss. It’s important to store lily bulbs correctly prior to planting because they have no outer layer that helps protect against moisture loss or temperature fluctuations. Keep lily bulbs cool (below 45 degrees F) but not freezing to help prevent sprouting. If sprouts form prior to planting, handle bulbs carefully. If you break the sprout, the lily won’t flower that year.
Get creative with floral by adding simple bulbs along the tabletop. Place each bulb into a cupcake liner; then add a layer of moss inside and around the bulb. In addition to adding shape, color and texture to the table, guests can also take them home as party favors and plant them.
After you plant your bulbs in the fall, top dress them with a balanced 10-10-10 or 10-15-10 slow-release fertilizer or a product formulated especially for bulbs. Feed again in the spring, as soon as new growth emerges from the ground. Mix the fertilizer into the soil to avoid burning the bulbs.
Save time – and your back – by placing bulbs, tip end up, on top of the planting bed, then covering with a layer of several inches of soil, instead of digging individual holes for bulbs. Don’t worry if the bulbs tip over; they will work themselves upright.
Year after year, colored twinkle light bulbs are certain to burn out. Instead of tossing them, collect them for decorating wreath forms. Adding hot glue to the backs of discarded red bulbs, then using them to decorate the front of the wreath created an all red wreath.
When tulips, daffodils and lilies burst into bloom, you’re probably not thinking much about the part of the plant that’s underground: the bulb. Flower bulbs are actually a type of food storage organ, a way that plants stash their homemade nosh to help fuel future growth and flowers. Many plants get lumped under the heading bulbs, including tubers, corms and rhizomes. Knowing a little about different types of bulbs can help you understand how these plants grow—and how you should handle them at planting time.
Do you have any plant lovers in your life? This adorable bulb gift set is a great way to show them just how well you know them. And the best part is, it takes less than 5 minutes to make! All you have to do is fill the bottom of your jar with pebbles and add your bulb on top. Courtesy of The Happier Homemaker
A garden of yellow tulips and daffodils blossom in this cottage style garden. Planting bulbs separately from other blooming shrubs allows the tulips and daffodils' beautiful blooms to be the focus and so they don't compete with other flowers.