FALL PLANTED BULBS FOR SPRING BLOOM
(also known as rhizomes, corms, tubers, and tuberous roots)
P - Planting time
" - how deep to plant (from the base of the bulb)
- Alliums -P Nov & 2-3" - a local expert said most of the alliums do well here except for the giant/large ones. Sunset shows a lot of big ones grow in our area. When growing small-headed alliums, mass the bulbs as they multiply rapidly. Alliums with onion odor only give it off when they are bruised or cut. Following are some of the varieties of small-headed ones: A. cerulean/azureum (blue garlic), A. moly (golden garlic), A. Neapolitan (Naples garlic), and A. sphaerocephalum (drumstick).
- Agapanthus - P Nov & 2-4" - very hard to grow in Phoenix, plants may just sit there for a couple of years till you get tired of them and throw them out
- Anemone: P Nov & 2-3" - It is hard to tell the top from the bottom - just put it in any which way and the shoots will find their way to the top - De Caen varieties are single and St Brigid are semidouble to double - some gardeners soak them for a few hours before planting - Plant new bulbs each year
- Babiana - P Fall & 4" - flowers resemble freesia blooms, each stem has 6 or more blooms - leave in thesame place several years as they will increase and bloom more profusely. Blooms are in blue, lavender, purple, red and white.
- Blue Dicks (dichelostemma pulchellum) - For pictures and information go to: http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_dicap.pdf and http://ntap.k12.ca.us/whs/projects/flowers/blued.htm
- Brodiaea - Narrow grass-like foliage and large clusters of bell-shaped, lavender-blue flowers - many varieties now changed to triteleia - plant in full sun, 6-8" deep, grow 12" - 14" tall, appreciate being dry in the summer
- Calla (Zantedeschia) - P Nov & 4-6" - survives in moist, boggy soil, light shade - I don't see a lot of them growing in Phoenix which leads me to believe they are a little difficult to grow - like acid soil
- Chasmanthes - P Fall & 4" deep - foliage is like iris/gladiolus - foliage may appear after first fall rains - orange-red or yellow flowers - foliage and flowers stalks range from 3" to 5â"flowers start blooming early in the spring - multiply rapidly by seed and bulb - don't need irrigation in summer but will tolerate it - dig when dormant - cut apart sections of corms & discard small offsets & flattened dead corms that are under each mature one - replant right away - may not flower 1st year - seed will take 3 years to flower (kaz - manâ - thee)
- Clivia - Sunset says it will grow here, but I don't think I have seen any growing here. If you try to grow it, plant it so it receives afternoon shade.
- Crinum - P Nov & Feb & 4" - has big lilylike flowers, long strap leaves that are 2-3 feet long - each flower stalk is 4 feet tall and has a cluster of 8-12 flowers on it - flowers don't open all at 1 time - blooms look like belladonna lilies but are twice as big - blooming starts the last of May & continues all summer - most of the blooms are a light pink or white - a few are deep pink or maroon - some flowers are fragrant - mature bulbs are usually half the size of a football - spring and fall are best time to plant - divide infrequently - don't like to be disturbed - don't take much water - I plant mine on the east side of the house - Sunset recommends they be planted with ther tops of the necks even with the soil surface - I leave most of my necks out of the ground - I cover my bulbs with soil up to about where the thin neck starts. An article I read recently says that the fleshy roots must remain attached for the bulb to transplant successfully. To give the bulb a good start dig a planting hole 1 foot wide and at least 1 foot deep. Amend the backfill with compost or manure. Set the bulb so the neck protrudes at least 1 to 2 inches above the soil. For transplants, just dig beside the original clump and remove an offset. The biggest crinum is the grand crinum (Casiaticum) which has up to 50 fragrant , spider-like, white flowers in a single cluster.
- Crocosmia bulb - P Fall & 2" - Sword-shaped leaves - blooms of orange, red or yellow - useful for splashes of color - blooms in spring - divide clumps when flower color begins to decline - used to be called "Montbretia" - related to the freesia - plants 2-4" high - each flower spike blooms from 3-4 weeks - a local expert recommended them for the Phx area
- Crocus - P Nov & 2" - Low growers from Mediterranean region, but usually won' t naturalize where winters are warm - they do best in cold winter areas
- Daffodils - P Oct & Nov & 6-9" - All daffodils , narcissus and jonquils are NARCISSUS. To gardeners, however, they are divided as follows:
- Daffodils - large-flowered varieties
- Narcissus - small-flowered & usually early-blooming
- Jonquil - Narcissus jonquilla and its hybrids - very fragrant golden yellow flowers with short cups in clusters of 2-6 on stems - rush like foliage
- There are 11 divisions of daffodils, and some of those divisions have divisions. The big, double-nosed bulbs will give you the biggest and most flowers. Probably the best ones to grow in the Phoenix area are the early-blooming, small-flowered ones. Plant the bulbs 6-9" deep to insulate them from our summer heat. When deciding on the location to plant daffodils, remember that the flowers usually face the sun.
- Daylily (hemerocallis) - P Spring or fall & 4-6" - Evergreen types do better in the South, Daylily plants are tough and trouble-free - you can set out bare-root plants at any time during the growing season - plants from containers can be planted year-round - there are improvements in daylilies being made all the time. Some bulbs now have 40 blooms to a bulb. Divide in the fall or early spring - The crown (the area where the root clump meets the foliage) should be level with the top of the ground. The plant does best in an area that has sun and shade in and out all day. If planted in full sun the leaves will burn, the flowers won't last as long, and they will need more water.
- Easter Lily - P Sep/Oct & 3 times the width of the bulb - Plant your lily outdoors soon after it finishes blooming, leaving the old flower stem on. Plant a little deeper than it was growing in the pot. Plant in filtered sun or well-lighted shade. Reduce watering after the foliage dies back. The plant may bloom that fall, but after that it will be on its regular cycle of blooming in May. Bulbs may be divided in the spring or fall. Removing the yellow anthers before the pollen starts to shed makes the flowers last longer.
- Freesia - P Oct/Nov & 2" - "old fashioned" white (Freesia alba) is the most fragrant of freesias, naturalizes wonderfully in mild-winter gardens, freesias come in lots of different colors, both single or double - they can be left in the ground year round, but will tend to revert back to the cream-colored bulb - the newer hybrids aren't as fragrant as the old ones - cut back on watering when the leaves start to yellow, withhold water completely during their summer dormancy - narrow, sword shaped one-foot leaves with flower stalks about a foot high also
- Galtonia - Plant in the fall - strap-shaped leaves - summer blooms of sweet-scented white flowers on 2-4' flower stalk - flowers best if bulbs aren't disturbed
- Garlic - both elephant garlic and the regular kind, which you can buy at the grocery store - pink/lavendar ball-shaped flowers 2-3' tall
- Gladiolus - P Oct 15 to Dec 30 & 5-7" - For a long growing season, plant every week or two over a period of 4-6 weeks (Nov through Jan ) - the bulbs are slow to start growing - mound some extra soil abound the base of the stems before they start blooming to keep them from falling over - I have heard that you can plant gladiola just about the year round - buy bulbs that are 1" to 1" in diameter and have a high crown which rises to a definite peak (broad, flat ones are older and less vigorous) - cut flowers for bouquets when lower flowers begin to open, but leave at least 4 leaves on plant so bulbs will have enough food to replenish themselves - after flowers have finished blooming, cut off stems beneath the lowest flower as stems will set seeds, diverting energy from food storage - bulbs can be left in ground the year round
- Grape Hyacinth (muscari) Sunset says they will grow here, but I don't remember seeing any grow here - small, grass-like leaves - flowers are a couple of inches tall, blue, purple or white and some are fragrant - very long-lived, but not in the Phx area
- Homerias - P fall through winter & 2" - Plant is about 1' to two feet tall, with thin, narrow leaves and small light yellow or orange/apricot flowers - flowers only last a day but more keep coming for at least a month
- Hyacinths - P Oct - Dec & 5-8" - new bulbs must be planted each fall, after cooling in the refrigerator for 6 weeks - if the buds have short stems, a collar or tube of cardboard may be put around the plant to make the stem grow longer
- Iris - Tall bearded, spuria, aril bred, median and Louisiana grow here - plant from late Sept to about Oct 20 - for pictures and info on their Iris Seminars held in Sept, go to: www.shepardiris.com
- Ixia - P fall & 2" - Very narrow leaves, flower stems are 18-20" tall and the slightest breeze causes the stems to start moving - short spikes of 2" flowers which do not open on overcast days - bulbs can stay in ground the year round, although they would rather be dry during the summer -
- Lily Lankongense - this is the only lily that Sunset shows will grow in Phoenix - it is fragrant and takes our alkaline soil - suggest it be planted with morning sun
- Mariposa Lily (calchortus kennedi) - P fall & 3-4" - flowers are orange, yellow, white or pink - To see a color picture, go to: http://www.rimjournal.com/arizyson/wldflowr/pinkreds/mariposa.htm and
- Morea Polystacha (African Iris) - this plant is growing at Desert Botanical Garden near Archer House - it blooms off and on during the spring and summer with blue/purple flowers shaped like a Dutch iris - it has tall grass-like leaves and stems - multiplies agressively
- Orinthogalum (Star of Bethlehem) - P Fall & 4-6" - grassy looking, droopy leaves about a foot tall, same size flower stem has clusters of white flowers
- Oarabicum (Arabian Star of Bethlehem) - wonderfully fragrant, waxy looking creamy-white flowers with a shiny, black-eye center
- Onutans (Silver Bells) - fragrant, flowers are white inside & green outside with a white margin
- Oumbellatum (Star of Bethlem) - easy to grow, may naturalize and become weedy, white flowers with a green midrib on the outside - flowers close at night to protect the pollen
- Oxalis - P Fall & 1" - Very agressive (especially the yellow variety) and spreads rapidly
- Ranunculus - P Oct 15/Nov 15 & 2-3" - Brilliantly colored flowers make long-lasting cut flowers - flowers have multiple layers of delicate, crepe paper-thin petals - foliage grows in a mound and 12-18" stems emerge from that - the blooms last up to 6 weeks - the Tecolote variety has mainly double flowers in a wide range of colors - each clawlike jumbo bulb will have approximately 35 flowers - #1 bulbs, however, will only have 20 flowers - Plant the tuber's claw pointed end down and 1 to 2 inches deep in full sun - for best results, plant new bulbs each fall
- Scilla, Peruvian - Although Sunset doesn't list them as growing in Phoenix, I have grown them about 10 years - rather floppy leaves, 10-12" stem has a ball-shaped cluster of approximately 50 starlike bluish purple flowers
- Sparaxis (Harlequin Flower) - P Oct/Nov & 1-2" - Sword-shaped leaves about a foot high - very colorful flowers - each funnel-shaped flower has a yellow center, a dark color surrounding this, and then a 3rd color on the rest of the petals - they normally bloom for a long period but didn't this spring in the extra hot weather we had
- Sprekelia formosissima (Aztec Lily, amaryllis formosissima) - P Fall & 3-4" - foliage looks like daffodil leaves - each foot tall stem has dark red, 6" wide bloom that looks like an orchid - bulbs can stay in the ground - probably do best in partial shade - plant with the neck of the bulb at soil surface - often reblooms if you let soil dry out after it finishes blooming - blooms best when crowded
- Tritonia - Swordlike leaves approximately 1 to 1 1/2' high - spikes of bright-colored flowers - bulbs can remain in the ground - bulbs are quite tiny - one of the local experts recommended them for the Phx area
- Tulips - If you want to grow tulips in Phoenix, you will have to buy bulbs every fall and pre-chill them in the refrigerator for 6 weeks. A couple of "wild" tulips that will grow here and you can keep them in the ground from year to year are:
- Tulipa clusiana:(Lady tulip, candy tulip) cream colored with deep purple center amd a red band on the outside from top to bottom
- Tulipa saxatillis - rosy-lilac with a yellow base - multiplies rapidly by stolons - may not appear till first of year
- Fall 2004 McClure & Zimmerman catalog lists 7 "wild" tulips that it appears will grow in the Phoenix area without pre-chilling and can stay in the ground year round.
- Veltheimia bracteata (Winter Red Hot Poker) - P Fall - handsome foliage - remains green just about year round - late winter/early spring flowers appear - tubular, drooping, pinkish-purple tinged with green - put top of bulb neck just above surface of soil
- Planting: About November 1st is the earliest planting date. Do not plant until the daytime temperatures are in the low 80's. If the bulbs are planted while the ground is still hot, the bulbs may rot or start growing too soon. As a result, the foliage will grow very big but the blooms will not develop properly. It is also important to plant the bulbs at the proper depth. It they are planted too shallow or too deep they will not perform as desired. The majority of the bulbs will appreciate being planted in full sun. A general rule of thumb is to plant to a depth of 4 times the thickness of the bulb.
- Put a tablespoon of treble superphosphate mixed in at the bottom of the bulb planting hole, then a like amount of bone meal mixed with a little sand for the bulb to rest upon. Work these mixtures in several inches below the bulb planting depth.
- As all gardeners know, some plants may absolutely refuse to grow for you, no matter what you do. There are so many plants that grow in the Phoenix area, if one refuses to grow, move on to something else. You will never manage in your lifetime to grow all the plants that will grow in the Phoenix area.
- Some of the above bulbs may be extremely difficult to locate. Try specialty mailorder bulb companies and arboretums.
- Jim Duggan Flower Nursery, 1452 Santa Fe Dr, Enjcinitas, CA 92024 - South African Bulbs - for color pictures go to www.thebulbman.com
- McClure & Zimmerman, P O Box 368, Friesdland, WI 53935-0368 - www.mzbulb.com
- Yucca-Do Nursery, Hempstead, TX - for color pictures go to :
- Brent & Becky's Bulbs, Gloucester, VA - for color pictures go to www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com
- Telos Rare Bulbs, Arcata, CA - some color pictures available at: www.telosrarebulbs.com