Popular bulbs for the home gardener

Gardening with bulbs has many advantages for the gardener.  For one thing, most bulb plants are inexpensive, and bulbs are durable out of the ground and hardy in the ground.  Shopping for the right bulbs is also easy; simply choosing firm, healthy looking bulbs, and avoiding those that are cracked, dry or soft is a good way to choose the best bulbs for your garden.

There are so many types of bulbs, however, that it can be difficult to find the right ones for your garden.  This article presents a brief overview of some of the most popular flower bulbs.

Popular bulbs for the home gardener

  • Gladiolus


Gladiolas are among the most popular of all bulb plants, and their distinctive sword shaped leaves and funnel shaped flowers are instantly recognizable to gardeners and non gardeners alike.  This striking appearance has made gladiolas a favorite bulb with many gardeners, and they make a fine centerpiece to any garden due to their large size and attractive appearance. The large summer flowering gladiolas can range in height from three feet to a huge six feet, and their variety of colors makes them great for any garden.

Gladiolas are best planted in the spring, but only after the soil has warmed.  Gladiolas typically bloom between 65 and 100 days after planting.  Many gardeners plant new gladiola bulbs at one or two week intervals over a four to six week period in order to enjoy continuous blooms.  Each gladiola bulb should be planted four times as deep as the bulb is wide, for instance a one inch wide bulb would be planted four inches deep.  The spacing of gladiolas should be between four to six inches.

Gladiolas do best in full sunlight and they should be watered regularly during their blooming and growth phase.  In much of the country, gladiola bulbs can be left in the ground over the winter months, but many gardeners choose to dig them up and store them during the winter.  If you decide to take this approach, it is best to dig them after the leaves have turned yellow.  The bulbs should be placed in a single layer and stored in a cool, dry and dark place to dry for two or three weeks.  After the bulbs have dried sufficiently they should be stored in nylon stockings or onion sacks and kept in a cool and well ventilated place.

  • Hemerocallis


Hemerocallis is the scientific name for the daylily, and it is one of the most well known types of bulb plants on the market.  Gardeners love the hardy and trouble free nature of the daylily, and their arching and sword shaped leaves provide a striking addition to any garden.  Daylily hybrids can grow as tall as six feet and bloom in the spring and summer months.  The daylily produces flowers ranging in size from three to eight inches, and they are available in a wide variety of colors.  The daylily gets its name from the fact that each of its flowers lasts only a single day, but its buds open on successive days, and this enhances the beauty of the plant.

The daylily is actually a tuberous root variety of bulb, and they are best planted during fall or early spring.  Daylilies should be planted between ½ inch and 1 inch deep and space between 2 to 2½ inches apart in the garden.  As with other varieties of bulbs, it is important to water daylilies on a regular basis during their growing season.



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