Choosing new flowers for a landscaping project can the fun part of landscaping. Those who are interested in growing flower beds from start to finish will undoubtedly be looking at bulbs. With a little background and some tips on what to look for, bulbs are a great way to not only get a garden started, but to keep it going from season to season.
The tulip has been a favorite flower for many since they rose to the height of popularity in the Netherlands in the mid 17th century. Prices for tulips bulbs got so out of control that the government had to step in to regulate them.
Tulips are one of the easiest flowering plants to care for; as long as the bulbs are planted properly, they're practically maintenance-free. Bulbs should be planted in September or October, before the first frost of the year. The hardy bulbs don't need much water, and can easily weather the cold winter temperatures of the northern United States and Europe. The bulbs will reproduce underground, and do not need to be dug up between seasons. Some people prefer to do so, keeping only the biggest bulbs and producing the biggest tulips.
In colder climates, daffodils can be one of the most welcome sights of spring. A herald of better weather to come, these brightly colored flowers come in shades of yellow and orange, with some even white.
Slightly more high maintenance than tulips, daffodil bulbs need to be planted in well-drained soil; moisture and warm soil can make the bulbs rot. However, that's more than made up for in the convenience of needing little fertilizer and only having to be dug up once every 5 to 10 years. When flowers have become noticeably smaller and more sparse, it's time to dig them up. Once bulbs are dug up, they can be separated and the new offshoot bulbs replanted. They need little care before their flowering, and after the flowers have died they have already produced the nutrients the bulb needs to survive the dormant season.
If it's cut flowers you're ultimately interested in, then planting a handful of gladiolus bulbs can yield some truly spectacular bouquets. One known as the sword lily and developed in the Mediterranean, the gladiolus has since become hardy enough to survive outside of the warm ocean climate. The bulb stores food for the plant during its dormant season, allowing it to survive periods without leaves to process nutrients. The gladiolus bulb is unique because each year it grows a new storage unit, call a corm. The new corm grows over the top of the old one, which then dies. A healthy corm can be chosen by its size, which varies based on the variety of the gladiolus.