Picking Flower Bulbs

Views: 16170 | Last Update: 2008-07-10
Picking Flower Bulbs - Provided by eHow
How to pick flower bulbs for planting; get professional tips and advice from an expert on picking, buying, and planting flower bulbs in this free gardening video. View Video Transcript

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Yolanda Vanveen

Video Transcript

YOLANDA VANVEEN: Hi. This is Yolanda Vanveen with Expert Village. Next, I'm going to talk about how to select flower bulbs. When you're at the farmers market or the grocery store or anywhere where you actually have the choice to pick out a flower bulb, there are different things that I look for to find out if it is a good flower bulb and if it's going to produce for me. Tulip bulbs are pretty simple to check out. If it looks like a Hershey's Kiss candy, it's firm, it's got a nice point to it, it looks like some roots are actually starting to grow on it, this is considered a good bulb. These are Alliums; they're in the onion family. If it looks kinda fleshy, it's got paper on it although even the paper around the bulb, if it's gone, and the bulb still looks fine, it's still a fine bulb; there's nothing wrong with it. I got Dutch Iris; it's already staring to shoot. Well, it's January and I want it to bloom this spring, so it's a great bulb to pick out for right now, and even if it had a little bit of a shoot in the fall, over the winter, my irises are very hardy that even if it freezes or there's snow on them, there's a little shoot coming out of the ground in the middle of winter; it doesn't hurt them at all. So, I'm not afraid to buy bulbs that have a little bit of a shoot. Sometimes, if it's really tall and falling over and it doesn't look that good, the greenery, then I would still buy it 'cause the bulb is what matters. So, you can always cut off the greenery. You might not get a bloom this year but you still got a bulb for years to come. And if there's no sign of growth but it's still firm, it's still fine as long as it's firm and it's not mushy; that's the deal. Plants like Amaryllis belladonnas; they're kind of a soft bulb, kinda spongy even so sometimes people will say, "How come it's spongy? What's wrong with it?" and I always tell them, "There's nothing wrong with it." It is a fine bulb. It looks alive. I can always take my fingernail and kinda rub a part of it and it's still gotten like a potato inside. This bulb is fine. If it was dry or black or mushy then it would be no good. These are Scilla peruvianas or Cuban Lilies they call them sometimes. They've got a shoot, they don't bloom till April or May so, even in the winter time, middle of winter, I plant them, and they're great 'cause the foliage will come out and they'll look really good even through the winter. This looks like a fine bulb. There are lots of babies so I got quadruplets. So, instead of a mom and babies, I've got quadruplets. So, there have been a lot of scientific studies done that say keeping bulbs in family units, they produce much better than one by itself or just separating one or mixing them up with other bulbs, but if you try to keep them even when dividing into same groups, they seem to do much better. Daffodils are beautiful plants too. Same thing, if you've got a mama and a baby, that's a bonus bulb. You've got a family unit and she's going to do much better and you're going to have many, many, many more plants over the years. So, those are a few tips on selecting bulbs. Let's talk about what kinds of problems or what should I do if the bulb doesn't look very good.