A Year Of Flower Bulbs 

A year of flower bulbs. The word "bulbs" brings to mind the stately tulips and cheerful daffodils that grace spring gardens. But bulbs can provide color in the garden year-round.


Not only do various bulbs flower in the spring, summer, and autumn, but if you take advantage of indoor gardening, you can even enjoy flower bulbs such as hyacinth, amaryllis, and narcissus during winter. Here's how to have a year of flower bulbs around your home.

Flower Bulbs, Corms or Tubers?

Let's clear up the confusion. Many of the plants we refer to as 'bulbs' are actually corms or tubers, which are similar in function and purpose.

They store everything they need for plant growth inside. You must plant them in the right season and give them some water.

Tubers, such as dahlias and begonias, are essentially enlarged roots. All three usually go dormant after flowering.

Hardy bulbs bloom in the spring. They are cold-tolerant and can be left in the ground over winter. They often need a little cold to jolt them into growth.

People in warm climates such as Florida must put their bulbs in the refrigerator for a month before planting for their botanical wake-up call. 

These bulbs are usually planted in the fall. Get more tips on fall gardening.

A Year of Flower Bulbs

Tender bulbs, corms, and tubers usually flower in the summer and spring and must be dug up and stored in winter.

However, you can leave them in the ground in very mild climates. Many bulbs even naturalize, which means they multiply all by themselves underground. 

So plant a dozen daffodils this year, and you could enjoy two dozen next year. For a year of flower bulbs, here are some bulbs to consider for each season of the year.

Autumn Bulbs

If you live in a mild climate, you can still plant some fall-blooming bulbs. For fall color, they need to be planted in August or very early September.

These flowers usually range from about 3 to 5 inches tall, so don't expect the drama of tulips or daffodils. But they are delightful sprinkled among your perennials. Choices include colchicum, autumn crocus, and scilla.

Winter Bulbs

During the winter, you can "force" bulbs to bloom indoors. Popular flower bulbs include amaryllis, narcissus, and hyacinth.

Spring Bulbs

The sky's the limit. Favorites include tulips, fritillaria, muscari, crocus, and anemone. But there are dozens of varieties to choose from.

Summer Bulbs

Summer bulbs range from the tuberous begonia (which will bloom profusely in shady areas) to the tall and elegant cannas to the showy, colorful dahlias. Many summer bulbs produce lovely flowers for cutting.

So get adventurous and try a year of flower bulbs. If you live in an apartment, grow them in pots. Bulbs provide a lot of rewards for minimal effort.


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