Have you ever had the experience of visiting a garden and seeing the beautiful tulips, crocuses, paper whites, and other spring blossoms and wishing you had them in your flowerbeds? Oops, you should have started wishing about four to six months earlier. Now is the time to plant those spring-blooming bulbs – and to plan for bulb planting during each season.

Fortunately, because we live in planting zone 9, there is still time to plant those bulbs that you will look forward to seeing their blooms in the spring. First, one must decide which flowers you would like to see in your garden. Warning: there are many to choose from for a lovely garden.

Information recorded on bulbs for many years

Flowers grown from bulbs have been in existence for thousands of years. Gardening authors have recorded information about bulbs for many years, including our own Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and outstanding gardener.

Today, we have access to numerous books and the internet for the latest on bulbs, especially for our area. The Texas heat is not loved by many of the plants which sprout from bulbs, but please do not forget about bulbs in your garden or container settings. Some even do well indoors strategically placed near a window.

Various blooming bulbs bloom for our area

Jonquils, daffodils and narcissus are old plants that were identified as early as 1629 where Mr. Jefferson cultivated them at his Virginia home Monticello. Today these beauties with their white and yellow colors are found around old home sites or even in fields. These three plants can be grown in your garden, and they all begin with a bulb.

Other beauties include Lily of the Field, Aztec Lily, Oxblood Lily, Tiger Lily and the Summer Snowflake. Although we rarely have snow, there are Summer Snowflakes or Snow Drops, which could remind us of the white stuff.

Lilies are grown from bulbs, and many of us are familiar with Tiger lilies, the Madonna lily, the Philippine lilies and, of course, the Easter lily.

With your new knowledge about bulbs, you can have a beautiful bed of flowers for each season.

Refer to seasonal bulb blooming information printed alongside this article, which includes type and when to plant various bulbs.

Outstanding bulb plants for our area

  • Amaryllis

The amaryllis is a favorite of nearly everyone, especially during the winter holidays when these plants are offered as gift suggestions. Johnson’s red amaryllis is always a favorite. One might also consider Appleblossom which is a favored pink amaryllis.

  • Narcissus

Paperwhites or narcissus is another popular bulb and these do well along the Gulf Coast. Since it usually blooms in cooler weather, autumn would be the ideal planting time.

  • Agapanthus

The agapanthus, a winter-hardy plant does quite well in our coastal area. Good soil preparation and ample moisture will produce beautiful blooms in the summer. January through March would be the best time to plant if this is your first adventure with the agapanthus bulbs.

  • Gladiolus

Who has not appreciated the gladiolus blossoms in wedding arrangements at church? Or even the sprays at funerals? These should be planted between the middle of January to the middle of March, in two-week intervals. These popular garden flowers will grow in poor soil conditions, but the beauty of the blooms will increase with frequent watering and plant food. It is possible to keep some of the bulbs in one’s refrigerator to plant in the summer for autumn flowers.

A few hints for a successful bulb garden

A flower on the ground does not add to the garden. Often the plants which have been mentioned in this article will need support to show off their beauty.

  • Stake perennials

As gardeners, we must carefully observe our perennials in our yards because plants should be staked before the need is apparent.

At one time, the use of long, slender sticks served as stakes in our gardens, but now we also have metal stakes covered with plastic. One may also use bamboo stakes arranged around a plant and attached with twine, or plastic covered wire tires.

  • Care fosters bulb-flowering plants

A red gladiolus on the ground will attract the wrong attention. Watch out for aphids, spider mites, pill bugs, snails and slugs that will appreciate your plants in a different manner. These little visitors may be eliminated through the use of commercial products or even a heavy spray of water. Check with your County Extension Agent or a nursery near you.

Don’t forget to deadhead spent blooms, fertilize with blood or bone meal and water your beautiful bulb-flowering plants for many weeks and years of enjoyment.

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The Gardeners’ Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension – Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or vcmga@vicad.com, or comment on this column at VictoriaAdvocate.com.

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