Flower bulbs

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The underground wintering organs of bulbous and tuberous plants are generally referred to as flower bulbs, even if from a botanical point of view they are two different organs. In the garden centers you will find flower bulbs and tubers mostly in bags. For fall - in September and October - the sales season is in full swing.
Botanically speaking, the plants themselves are perennials, but due to their special wintering strategy they form a separate group, the so-called geophytes. Unlike the other perennials, which sit close to the surface of the earth and can only protect themselves with leaves or the snow cover from winter, the bulbous and tuberous plants usually retreat deep into the soil long before the onset of winter. They have a very long rest period and do not sprout until spring, when the first rays of sunshine warm the ground. In addition to the protective mechanism during the winter months, the onion or tuber can also store nutrients and water. In addition, the shoots are often preformed, which allows the rapid expulsion in the spring.

Like every living thing, plants are forced to adapt to their habitats. The flower bulbs are the evolutionary result of adapting to unfavorable living conditions - for example, lack of light under dense treetops, summer drought or simply very short growing seasons. The sprouts sitting in the flower bulbs already have all ready-formed above-ground organs and open their buds within a few days after budding. These are usually pollinated by insects and at the same time the plants begin to produce the nutrients they need for their expulsion in the next year with the freshly expelled leaves.

Typical life cycle of flower bulbs

  • Onion and tuber plants are planted at rest from October.
  • After planting, the flower bulb forms roots until it sprouts in spring
  • During the winter months from December to February, the tuber often already drifts easily - the sooner it gets cold, the sooner the anti-drifting substances in the flower bulb are broken down
  • As soon as the earth heats up slightly in the spring, the new shoots appear on the surface
  • In April, most bulbous and tuberous plants are in full bloom. Especially early like the snowdrop are often already dead
  • Just a few weeks after the flowers wither, the stems and leaves turn yellow. The plants put the reserve materials back into the onions. The seeds are maturing in parallel
  • Between May and June, most spring flowers return
  • In July above ground mostly only withered remains are present. The seeds have already been spread and usually have already formed new daughter onions

Use of flower bulbs in the garden

There are many pleasing applications for flower bulbs in the large selection of colors and flower shapes: as underplanting of summery green shrubs and trees, in the rock garden, in the flower pot or for spoiling in the lawn or in the natural garden. Flower bulbs are particularly welcome in the perennial border, where they distract from the bleak gaps at the start of the season and provide color.

Spring bed with daffodils and tulips

Spring bed with daffodils and tulips

Flower beds with flower bulbs

The different growth heights of the flower bulbs allow staggering a perennial flowerbed from the roadside to the backmost row and to match. Planted correctly, the flower bed blooms over three seasons: In spring, the early bloomers, such as snowdrops and crocuses, open their flowers. These are replaced by tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. During the warm summer months, the bed charms with lilies. The fall in the fall make tuberous plants such as dahlias and autumn crocuses.

The fresh new outgrowth of the perennials gives early bloomers such as tulips, imperial crowns and ornamental onions a suitable setting. For the front, low blooms such as grape hyacinths, blue stars and Puschkinien, while in the background higher specimens such as prairie lilies (Camassia) and tulips are effective. A varied range of high and low bulb flowers has a charming effect, as well as a mixture of early varieties such as crocus and anemone with late flowering such as tulip and hare bells (Hyacinthoides). Only in larger so-called tuffs of five onions and in rhythmic intervals combined with other colors, tulips and daffodils unfold their effect. Small onion flowers such as crocuses and blue stars should be planted as larger groups of at least 20 specimens to give them a good color effect. With colorful foliage or foliage ornaments of similar color, the harmonic effect is enhanced. Pastel shades such as pale pink, light blue and lilac convince in partial shade while strong colors such as violet, red and yellow shine in sunny locations.But also the strong and tender tones look attractive together. And in front of a garden wall or evergreen hedge the spring messengers stand out especially beautiful.

Buy flower bulbs

Flowerbulbs are usually offered in their resting phase in autumn, but increasingly also as flowering plants in pots in spring. The bare onions are the cheapest option and grow reliably in the garden, if you do not leave them too long in a warm, dry environment after purchase. A healthy flower bulb will tell you that it is firm on barely giving in to gentle pressure with your thumb. It is important that it is undamaged and has no dark spots that may indicate fungus or bacteria. The size of many onions gives information about the later plant and flower size. Therefore, tulips and other flower bulbs are sorted by size. The bulbs and tubers of snowdrops, winterlings and ray anemones are quite small and sensitive to dehydration. It should therefore be planted immediately after purchase and previously soaked overnight in a bowl of water.

Grape hyacinths with yellow flowering tulips

The small, blue-flowered grape hyacinths are a nice contrast to the yellow calyx of the tulips


Onion flowers should be planted in early autumn - then the conditions are perfect, because the moist soil supports the first phase of growth and rooting. If the onion flower takes a good foot, a shoot tip is already formed, which grows out of the bulb easily. Caution is advised in plants such as the iris: If the autumn is too warm, the bulb may be sprouting too early, so the iris species should not be planted until November. Even with the garden tulips later planting is recommended. Reason: The infestation with gray mold is the lowest at low temperatures. Relatively early, imperial crowns and ornamental species are set. As a rough guideline for the planting depth is that the planting hole should be about three times as deep as the onion is high. In stunt-sensitive species such as lilies and tulips, it is best to fill a handful of rough building sand into the planting hole before planting.

Care tips for onion flowers

Large-flowered, highly bred onion flowers such as tulips and daffodils should be supplied after the shoot with some fast-growing mineral fertilizer. Small bulbs can be supplied with compost in the spring. In case of drought, additional irrigation requires above all moisture-loving species such as daffodils, knotted flowers and checkerboats. Snowdrops, winterlings and other species that grow in the tree shadow should be mulched with autumn leaves every year. Flower bulbs in the lawn must first move in peace, before you mow the planting areas, otherwise the carpet of flowers will become fatter every year. For tulips, it has been proven to cut off the wilting inflorescences before seed maturity. It is especially in summer damp locations a greater chance of a second season, if you take the onions from the bed after flowering and can be wrapped in boxes with humus wrapped. In autumn, the onions are then replanted. High-growth species should always be well supported. So that the roots are not damaged, it is advantageous to attach the support right at the planting. For binding materials such as bast or normal cord can be used.

Tulips in the flowerpot

The petals of the Rembrandt tulips are flamed in a picturesque way. They bloom from mid to late May in many color variations

Onion flowers in the pot

Some bulbous flowers are also suitable for planting pots or baskets. The vessels should be based on the height of the onion species. While the low-growing snowdrops are more suitable for shallow pots or small baskets, long-stemmed tulips should be planted in taller pots. Popular species for boxes, tubs and troughs are garden tulips (Tulpia species), ranunculus (Ranunculus-Asiaticus hybrids), garden daffodils (Narcissus hybrids), hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis), snowdrops (Galanthus species) and many more. So you have plenty of opportunities to get the flowers on the balcony or the terrace.

Video Board: Summer Flowering Bulbs ???// Garden Answer.

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