A guide to popular bulbs

Flowering bulbs are among the most popular of all ornamental plants, and they have enjoyed striking popularity for many years.  Bulbs are renowned for their hardiness, color and variety, and there are enough types of bulbs to please even the most discriminating gardener.

With so many bulbs to choose from, it can be difficult to choose the right ones, so we present here a quick rundown of some of the most popular varieties of bulbs for the garden.

A guide to popular bulbs


  • Crocus


Crocus bulbs typically bloom in early spring or in late winter, and they feature tubular shaped flowers ranging in size from 1½” to 3” long.  Crocuses come in a rainbow of colors, and they are a staple of many gardens.  Other types of crocus, such as the saffron crocus, bloom instead in the fall, and the flowers can rise from the bare ground weeks, or even only days, after the bulbs are planted.  It is important for crocus bulbs to be planted as soon as they become available in the fall.  The best way to plant crocus bulbs is two to three inches deep, with a spacing of three or four inches between bulbs.  Crocus bulbs should be planted in good quality soil with good drainage, and they should be provided with full sun or partial shade and watered regularly during their growing and blooming seasons.


  • Dahlia


Dahlias bloom from summer through fall, and they also come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes.  The size of dahlia flowers can range from two to twelve inches, and the height of the plants themselves can vary from just under a foot to more than seven feet for certain stake varieties.  It is best to plant dahlias after the last frost of the spring, and the roots should be set between four and six inches deep.  Tall dahlia varieties should be spaced four or five feet apart, while shorter ones can be spaced from one to one and a half feet apart.

Dahlias should have access to full sun, but in areas where the summers are very hot they may benefit from partial shade as well.  It is important to observe a regular watering schedule during the bloom and growth cycles of the dahlia.

Dahlia bulbs can be left in the ground if the winter temperatures do not go below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but most gardeners prefer instead to dig the dahlia bulbs up at the end of each growing season.  To do this, you should wait until the foliage has yellowed, then cut the stalks back to approximately four inches.  The clumps of the roots should be permitted to dry in the sun a few hours, then placed in boxes in a single layer and covered up with either sawdust or dry sand.  The bulbs should be stored in a cool dry place over the winter and replanted the following spring.


  • Galanthus Nivalis


The galanthus is more commonly known as the snowdrop, and it is one of the first plants to bloom at the end of the winter.  These plants are typically six to eight inches in height, and they feature one bell shaped flower on each side of the stalk.  Snowdrops are best suited for colder climates, and the bulbs are best planted in the autumn of the year.  The bulbs should be planted from three to four inches deep and about three inches apart.  Snowdrops typically do best in full sun or partial shade, and they like regular watering during their blooming and growing cycles.


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