How to Choose, Plant and Grow Bulb Flowers

by Flower El
tulip is one of bulb flowers

If you are into flower gardening, then chances are you will put in some bulb plants. They are easy to grow, are very hard and can bloom for a number of consecutive seasons without having to put in new bulbs.

The problem that most people have is choosing the right bulb in the first place. Once you get this process down pat, it become easier to find the best bulbs in your local garden shop.

One trick that is highly under-rated is to find the largest and firmest bulbs. Large bulbs will tend to produce a great many more blooms. Firmer bulbs tend to be healthier and more likely to bloom.

You should also be aware the bulbs are prone to water damage. The bulb should not have any damage such as cracks or holes. This is because they will tend to dry out quickly. Bulbs that have already developed roots should be discarded since they most likely won’t bloom.

An Introduction to Bulb Flowers

The best time for planting is in the early to mid October period. You need to plant the bulbs before the ground freezes, so plan on doing this at least six weeks beforehand.

One of the very best tools for putting in bulb flowers is called a bulb planter. It can be used to create a nice overall symmetrical effect in your garden area. If you want more of a random pattern, then simply plant several species into one single hole.

It’s best to apply a small bit of fertilizer into the bottom of each hole that you dig. Follow this up with some soil and then put the bulb on top. By creating a barrier effect, you are reducing the chance of burning out the bulb before it can germinate.

You should always plant bulbs with the pointy end up. Once all of the bulbs are in their proper holes, you can then fill them with topsoil and thoroughly water the entire garden.

While this type of planting is almost foolproof, you still must be aware of a few key points.

One involves the process of deadheading. This is commonly seen with perennial varieties. It involves the pruning of old blossoms to make it easier for newer ones to develop. Bulb plants can greatly benefit from this practice too. Just make sure that you don’t remove any of the leaves from the stem until after they have turned a brown color.

It doesn’t matter what stage or your gardening life that you are currently in, bulbs make for great planting. You will love their beautiful blooms, rich colors and hardy nature in your backyard space.

Some Popular Bulbs For Home

There are many pluses to planting bulbs. They are inexpensive to purchase and display a hardy nature even while in the ground. When shopping for bulbs, it is important to purchase ones that are healthy as this can make a difference in how your garden will bloom.

If you are inexperienced in planting this way, it can almost be overwhelming with the number of choices now available. We will look at some of the most popular types in this article to provide you with some background information.

One of the most popular plants types is the Gladiolus.  They have very unique leaf and flower patterns that stand out among the floral community.

Due to their large size, this flower also makes a great centerpiece for any garden. The plant itself will grow anywhere from 3 to 6 feet in height with a display of colors that can be quite striking.

The best time to plant these types of bulbs is in the Spring once the soil is warm. They will bloom anywhere from 65 to 100 days after being planted. Bearing this fact in mind, you can plant your flowers at intervals in order to have blossoms on a continuous basis.

These types of bulbs need to put in 4 times as deep as they are wide, so if you have one that has a width of 2 inches, it should have a hole that is 8 inches in depth. They should also be spaced out at least 4 inches apart.

Gladiolas, Daylilies and Hemerocallis

Gladiolas grow best in full sun and need to have a regular irrigation method in order to grow best. These bulbs can remain in the ground over the winter in most of the U.S., but a great many gardeners still prefer to store them over the winter. The latter method will require you to dig them up after the leaves have turned color. They can be stored in a cool, dry place in a single layer. Once you have dried them for 2 to 3 weeks, they can be hung in a permeable material until it is time to plant in the Spring.

The Daylily or Hemerocallis is one of the most popular bulbs available today. They are easy to grow and produce a sword-shaped leaf that makes a wonderful addition to the garden. Daylilies can also grow up to 6 feet in height and will produce blooms throughout the Spring and Summer. The flowers will be produced in a wide range of colors in sizes from 3 inches up to 8 inches in diameter. Daylily flowers only last for 24 hours, but the buds open almost every day which makes this a beautiful spectacle.

They are best planted in the fall or early Spring when the soil is warm and moist. They need to be spaced about 2 inches apart at a depth of about 1 inch when planting the bulbs. And as with most of these types of plants, regular watering helps them to growth their best.

Gardening with Bulbs

Bulbs are one of the most prized flowering plants because they are beautiful, hardy and can be obtained inexpensively. They also can bloom in different seasons so your garden always has a festive arrangement of flowers.

There are many popular varieties and they will be discussed further here.

One of the most well known varieties is the Dutch Hyacinth. It has small bell-shaped flowers that are quite fragrant and bloom in the Spring. It will typically survive the Winter months, and display a wide array of colors. This type of Hyacinth is typically planted during the Fall months of September or October. Being well adapted to colder climates, it makes a great choice for the garden.

Hyacinth bulbs typically do not last from year to year in locales that are deemed mild. In these areas, the plant should be treated as if it were an annual, and dug up to be replanted in the colder months. They are best planted deep — at least 5 inches, with plenty of space between them as well. Full sunlight is also their best growth environment and they do require regular irrigation, especially when blooming starts.

Irises are another popular choice among flower gardeners. They can display a stunning variety of colors when in full bloom. This is despite the fact that their size will vary greatly from plant to plant.

Planting Time Period

The best time to plant these bulbs in colder climates is during the months of July or August, while September or October is preferred for warmer locales. These plants (being rhizomes) require room to grown and need to be at least one foot apart to optimize growth rates. They will develop best in full sun with light shade and do best when properly irrigated.

Flower gardens wouldn’t be complete without the Lily as they are another superb bulb choice. Two of the most popular choices are the Asiatic or Oriental Hybrid Lily. The former tends to bloom in the early summer months and will be anywhere from 6 inches to almost 5 feet tall.

Oriental lilies actually bloom later on — typically in midsummer or early Fall. They have large, fragrant flower types growing on stems up to six feet tall. Featuring pink and white petal that may contain stripes and speckles too, they are a great addition to any flower garden.

These bulbs do not survive in the open air, so make sure that you plant them as soon as possible after purchase. If you can’t put them in the ground right away, be sure to find a cool, dry place for storage. You should inspect all of the bulbs before planting to make sure that only the healthy ones will be put into the ground.

They will grow best in full sunlight or a partial shade mix, and do best when kept on a regular watering schedule.

Buying and planting bulbs the right way

One of the most important points about buying bulbs is to find the firmest, largest species available. This typically means that you are purchasing a high quality item. You should try to avoid bulbs that feel soft because this often means that they are rotten.

Another consideration is the weight and appearance. Ones that are too light or have cracks should also be avoided since they probably won’t bloom.

You will find that on average, larger bulbs will provide the best blooms. This is true for just about every bulb flowering plant that you can think of for the garden. For the most part, bulbs will keep on growing year after year, so if you have the time, a cheaper route will be to buy smaller, firm bulbs and let them develop naturally.

Once you have purchase the best bulbs available, you need to plant them carefully. This means that a well cultivated flower bed with good soil and proper drainage has to be prepared. It is vital that the soil drains well in order to avoid root rot when too much water is held in the area of planting.

Soil Bed Ways

There are two ways to prepare a soil bed; the first type is dedicated for bulbs only while the second has other plants put in as well. While either way will work, the planting itself has to be done right.

In order to prepare a bed for the bulbs, you need to remove all vegetation from the area. Once this is accomplished, it is necessary to put down about 3 inches or organic material followed by a high quality fertilizer in small amounts. Make sure that you read and follow all directions on the fertilizer package. Once the field has been properly worked up and the mixture cultivated, you can then plant the bulbs.

It is necessary to plant these flowers about 2 to 3 times as deep as the width of the bulb. You can even go a little deeper in climates that are hot or in sandy soil.  In a heavier soil base you can go a bit less. You can leave room between the bulbs or plant them closer together, but in the latter case, it will probably be necessary to divide them up in a couple of years.

A great tool that you may want to make use of is the bulb planter. Although it is not vital, it can save you a lot of time. With a bulb planter or garden trowel, dig the hole slightly deeper and add one tablespoon of fertilizer to the bottom. Now cover this with a thin layer of soil and place the bulb on top. Fill in the hole with topsoil.

Once all of the bulbs have been planted, make sure to water the entire bed thoroughly. This will help them to establish a strong root system and thrive in the growing season.

bulbs look beautiful

Caring for your bulbs properly

Proper care of bulb type flowers is an essential part of the gardening process even though these are typically the easiest plants to sow. The standard conditions apply here:  plenty of sunlight, a good soil mixture, regular irrigation and the right amount of fertilizer. With just these items in the proper ratio, you can ensure that your bulbs will get off to a roaring start.

All bulbs require water on a regular basis – especially during the blooming and growth phases. This period actually begins a short while after the bulbs are planted, and will continue until all of the foliage has died off. This generally happens after the final bloom has passed; typically in the Fall.

Watering is a critical element to the success of your flowers and bulb plants have to have the right amount.  You will have to monitor the soil to make sure the plants aren’t water logged or dried out either.

By providing a mulch layer, you can help the soil to retain enough water content for proper development. This will work for almost all cases except for the Bearded Iris because using this product will actually rot the root system.


When growing bulbs, it is also essential to make sure that the right amount of fertilizer is used. It can be applied when planting in small amounts, but should never touch the bulb. A thin layer of soil has to be placed between the fertilizer and the bulb in order to reduce the chance of burning it out.

Once the growing season has started, a fertilizer high in nitrogen should be introduced. This will assist with flower production.

Once the blooms have finished, most of the nutrients from the soil will need to be replenished. This is a great time to prepare for the next growing season. In order for bulbs to thrive next year, you should make sure to do two essential things.

All foliage should be removed only after it has turned a yellow color and can be easily removed. Since leaves continue to make food for the plant when they are green, this will contribute to the long term success of the plant.

You should also administer a good fertilizer after the flowers have ceased blooming. A product that is high in both potassium and phosphorus is recommended for this application.

Any type of growth product that will reach the root zone effectively can be used, so make sure that you apply it close to the root system. You can help this process along by lightly cultivating the soil and then follow up with a deep water application.

Popular types of bulb flowers

According to most experienced gardeners, bulb flowers are probably the easiest type of plant to put in their backyard. Once these flowers are in full bloom, you can count on an attractive array of colors, shapes and sizes to be present for most of the growing season.

For the most part, bulb type flowers come in a wide assortment of hues and rich colors; enough to brighten up any backyard locale. You should not have any trouble finding a bulb flower to fit your particular tastes or match the existing look of your landscaping efforts.

There is even a lot of variation inside of a bulb family. Take for example the tulip which actually has many unique bloom shapes, ranging from the traditional bell pattern that is so familiar to a more exotic style that is quite beautiful.

Although this may sound quite exciting, for newcomers, it can be a bit intimidating to try and choose a good match. Hopefully you can find something of value in this guide that will help you find the perfect bulb flower for your landscaping needs.

What follows are some of the basic bulbs and a comparison between species so you can better choose the variety that will work best for your needs.

Comparison between Species

The Crocus has a corm bulb, takes full sun or partial shade and requires regular watering when it is blooming. “Dahlia” has a tuberous root, grows best in full sun/partial shade and needs regular watering during blooming periods. “Galanthus” (AKA) Snowdrop has a true bulb, need full sun/partial shade and has to have regular watering when in bloom.

Gladiolus has a corm bulb, grows best under full sun, and requires regular watering during blooming months. Hererocallis (Daylily) has a tuberous root, is best in full sun/light shade and needs regular watering during the growing season. Hyacinth (or Dutch Hyacinth) is a true bulb, needs full sun and need water during growth and bloom months.

The Iris is a rhizome bulb, requires full sun/light shade and regular watering in growing season. The Lilium (or Asiatic & Oriental Hybrid Lilies) is a true bulb, takes full sun/partial shade and requires regular watering. It is vital when growing a bulb flower that you don’t let the root zone dry out.

A couple more types that should be considered include the Muscai (or Grape Hyacinth) which is a true bulb, grows best in full sun/light shade and needs regular watering during growth and blooming phases.

The Narcissus (AKA Daffodil Narcissus) is a true bulb, takes full sun and has to have regular water during growth and bloom phases.  Finally the Tulipa (or Tulip) is a true bulb that needs full sun and regular watering during growth and bloom periods.

Enhance your garden with fall bulbs

Just because Autumn is here doesn’t mean that you are through with the garden. This is actually the best time to gather and plant many bulbs in order to prepare for the following growing season.

It is also one of the very best times to do garden work since it is typically not as hot as the Summer. A great many gardeners enjoy this time of year most of all.

Fall bulbs area actually one of the best investments for the gardener. If you are a novice in this area, you should know that bulbs can remain in the ground until next spring if necessary. They can go into a dormant stage, getting ready for conditions that are optimal for their growth.

Fall bulbs need to be planted in the right location in order to be successful. Each type of bulb has its own requirements and although they are hardy by nature, if their needs are not met, the chances of success are greatly reduced.

Soil and Sunlight

Probably the most important element is the soil. It has to be in a good location that receives proper drainage.

Full sunlight is another typical consideration for proper growth and development and should go into the considerations for preparing the planting bed. A good soil bed will contain at least 12 inches of top quality earth with an additional 2 inches of compost or organic material.

The bulbs can then be planted with enough spacing to allow room for growth and then covered with additional soil or compost material.

This does require some time, so don’t be alarmed. Another option for planting bulbs is to use a bulb planter tool to make a wider hole. This is easily accomplished with this handy garden implement. It makes an easy hole for planting bulbs. They will work great in conditions where the soil is easy to care for and doesn’t contain large impediments.

Probably the 3 most popular fall bulbs are crocuses, tulips and daffodils. Some other good choices include irises, alliums and hyacinths. All of them are easy to grow and produce beautiful flowers. One final bulb that is popular in the fall is the Chionodoxa and it starts out small, but becomes larger over time. They also help to repel deer, so many gardeners favor this plant to save their garden from harm.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Flowerel uses cookies to improve your visiting experience. Please accept our privacy terms. Accept Privacy Policy