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Flower Bulbs Buying Guide

From hollyhock  to bluebells  and calla lilies , planting flower bulbs can be a delicate science.  Some are suited for more moist environments or seasons, while others do well in tons of sun.  And whether or not you see the full fruit of your planting labour often depends on exactly when and how you plant them into soil.

Tips for Buying

  1. Be realistic about what will grow in your area. While protective mulch  or more sheltered areas may help certain bulbs grow, it's often hard to swing it so that every bulb grows to its full potential. Being realistic about your space will save you money that would otherwise be wasted on dead bulbs.
  2. Consult the experts. If you're uncertain about what will grow in your area, do some research. See what you can find online, or better yet, ask your neighbours.
  3. Avoid buying from certain websites. If your perusing for bulbs online, avoid sites that don't provide you with enough information to make an educated purchase. Details they should include are: blooming periods, hardiness zones, light requirements, planting instructions and size information.
  4. Order early in the season so you have plenty of time to plant.
  5. Bulb quality is often higher when it hasn't been out of the ground for long, so note this on the package before buying.
  6. The smaller the bulb the longer you'll have to wait for it to bloom--these guys are cheap for a reason!

Tips for Planting

  1. Prepare the planting bed properly. Good drainage is essential, so try adding compost  and peat moss  to soil that has high clay content.
  2. Be mindful of your bulb orientation and planting depth. Bulbs should be planted with the pointed end up, and the root base down in soil that is 3 to 4 times the length up the bulb itself.
  3. Since some flowering bulbs require full sunlight while others enjoy partial shade, pay attention to where you plant. South facing slopes allow bulbs to bloom earlier, which north facing slopes and vallies ensure later bloom times.
  4. Perpare the soil for maximum growth. Bulbs need a pH balance of 6 to7, so to a litmus test and adjust accordingly. Also, avoid over-fertilizing the soil, because it can encourage bulb rot and shorten the life of the flowers overall.
  5. If you're short on rainfall, make sure to water your bulbs on a weekly basis.

Daffodils

If you're new to gardening or just unsure about what will grow best in your area, consider planting daffodil bulbs.   They have a reputation for being pretty tough and adaptable to all environmental conditions--not to mention, they look great!  They come in tons of varieties to help best suit your flower bed, from tall, short and fragrant to a range of different shades of gold, yellow and white.

Other Common Bulbs

Lily 

Hyacinth 

Tulip 

Iris 

Begonia 


Gladiola 

Elephant Ears 

Amaryllis 

Ranunculus 

Related Guides

Gardening Tips

Flowering Vines

Wedding Flowers

Florals and Wreaths

Garden Insect Management