For many gardeners, planting bulbs is an annual spring tradition. Many flowers that grow from bulbs last only one year before they must be dug up and discarded, but there are some types of bulbs which will bloom again and again. Some garden blooms grown from bulbs are perennials, meaning they bring flowers to your garden year after year.
Impatiens, tulips, daffodils, crocus and other types of flowers produced from bulbs are treated as annuals, which means the bulbs are dug up and discarded at the end of fall. Often, annual bulbs must be placed in the ground through the winter. The cold helps to kick-start the growing process so that blooms are produced in the spring. Bulbs are a common means of producing annual flowers that last for a single year, but not all flower bulbs are grown as annuals.
Planting Perennial Bulbs
Perennial bulbs must be planted with great care, as they must survive the winter not once but several times over. Dig a hole between 5 to 8 inches deep for most types of perennial bulbs, burying them deeply to provide insulation against cold winter temperatures. After planting, cover the garden beds with a layer of mulch 2 to 3 inches deep to provide further cold protection. Plant spring and early summer flowering bulbs in the ground in the fall to give bulbs enough time to develop a root system. Bulbs that flower later in the year, late summer and fall, should be planted in the spring.
Gardening with Perennials
Unlike annual flowers, perennials appear again and again, bringing life and color to the garden year after year. You'll want to choose the colors and types of flowers with care when picking out bulbs, because (hopefully) you'll be looking at those blooms for a long time to come. The flower bloom will grow as big as the bulb itself. Inside every bulb is a miniature flower, ready to grow. Every bulb already contains all the necessary parts of the flower, so always plant bulbs that are firm and healthy-looking. Unhealthy bulbs will produce unattractive plants. View pictures of the flowers that will grow before you plant bulbs, and get a working knowledge of the colors and shapes they produce.
Types of Perennial Bulbs
Choose perennial bulbs not for ease of planting, but for the flowers they will produce. Amaryllis, snowdrops, bluebells, iris and many types of lilies, all produced from bulbs, may be grown as repeat-blooming perennials. Many of these flowers grow in a variety of colors, so you may mix and match shades to give your garden a bright, vibrant look.
- Photo Credit the gladiolus bulbs image by Igor Groshev from Fotolia.com yellow tulips image by Jorge Moro from Fotolia.com