Introduction to Flower Bulbs – Summer and Spring-Flowering Bulb
Bulb flowers are popular in the Dutch culture (Netherlands), however, they are native to central Asia. Dahlias are said to be native to Mexico, Hippeastrum is from South America, Freesias and calla lilies are native to South Africa.
Although bulbs are not native to the Netherlands, the professional Dutch horticulturalists are the primary reason why bulbs are as popular as they are. They also get credit for being pioneers in breeding specialized bulbs with distinctive, vibrant shades of colors. The Netherlands cultivate some of the finest bulb flowers available. Because the Netherlands have an ideal climate for bulb production, they grow a lot of bulbs and are pretty good at it, too. Certain parts of the Netherlands is even known as the “bulb region.”
In general, bulbs are categorized into two categories – the “spring-flowering bulbs” and the “summer-flowering bulbs.” Spring-flowering varieties are generally planted during fall while the latter (summer-flowering bulbs) are planted during the spring. Lilies (Orientals, Tigers, Asiatic) are an exception to the seasonal varieties as they can be planted in either spring or fall.
Bulbs are geophytes including flower-producing bulbs, corms, tubers and rhizomes with underground storage systems. In “true bulbs,” nutrients are stored in the fleshy parts of the plants’ underground storage organs. Tulips, iris, lilies, narcissi and hyacinths are examples of “true bulbs.”
Different varieties of geophytes have different types of storage organs. Iris (rhizomes), Crocus (croms), and Dahlias (tubers) are good examples of the variety of geophytes available.
Flower bulbs like daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, tulips and lilies are hardy varieties that can survive winter to bloom again the following season. Tender bulb varieties like canna, dahlia and gladiolus are also fairly rugged, however, they are unlikely to survive winter in the ground and may need to be removed and brought indoors until the next flowering season.
Some varieties of flower bulbs are adaptable enough to grow well in various types of environments. For example, some bulbs can grow fairly well indoors in a bowl of marble chips. Although bulbs do well indoors, to really see them in all their glory, bulbs should be planted outdoors.
Flower bulbs are known for their vibrant shades of colors including blue, pink, purple, yellow, orange and black. They variety of flower bulb species and cultivars available is endless, allowing Gardeners to have a wide array of options to choose from to create a dazzling, colorful garden.
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