Flowering bulbs add a splash of color to gardens and landscapes. They're considered unique plants because a large portion of their time is spent underground. Besides being available in many different colors, flower bulbs vary in height, shape and flowering time. Common examples of flower bulbs include crocuses, tulips, narcissus and lilies. Many gardeners plant flower bulbs in groups for a dramatic effect as they offer a stunning showpiece grouped together rather than planted haphazardly around a landscape.
A typical flower bulb has a thin paper like brownish skin and is basically tear shaped with a pointed tip and a rounded bottom. Bulbs store water and food so a plant has these essentials during cold or dry conditions. While some bulbs are as small as peas, others can weight more than 15 lbs., according to Bulb Anatomy Printout.com.
Fall is the best time to plant spring flowering bulbs. They can continue to be planted until the ground freezes. During a growing season the underground storage bulb grows. As cold or dry weather develops the bulb stays inactive (dormant) under the ground until there's water available for growth and weather becomes warmer. Roots grow from a bulb's bottom while a bud emerges from the stem as a new growing season begins. Soon the bud grows into a blossoming plant that produces seeds above ground that die back as the growing season ends.
Flowering bulbs are usually grouped into two categories: spring-flowering bulbs and summer-flowering bulbs. Lilies fall into both groups as they can be planted in either spring or fall for flowering in summer. Bulbs are also classified as being either hardy or tender. Examples of hardy bulbs include crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, daffodils and lilies. While hardy bulbs can survive in the ground in winter and again the following year, tender bulbs, such as dahlias, gladiolus and cannas, need to be dug up in the fall to be stored indoors during winter. They are replanted the following spring.
The timing of flowering is a main consideration when planning a bulb garden. It's helpful know which months each type of bulb is likely to bloom so that a garden can be planned with consecutive blooming throughout spring, summer and even into autumn.
Bulbs shouldn't be planted under thick turf grass or aggressive covers. They need a sunny spot that gives sun exposure for at least half a day. Brecks.com recommends a soil temperature of roughly 60 degrees Fahrenheit at a depth of 6 inches for roots to grow properly.