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Garden Guide Bulbs and Tubers



Plant 2" deep and 2" apart in good, welldrained soil in sun or light shade. In warm areas, plant corms in the fall. In colder areas, plant outdoors in spring. Keep the soil moist during the growing season and fertilize monthly. They require sun and protection. Freesias do best where the nights are cool. Staking is advised to keep the stems upright. After blooming, let the foliage die back. Then lift and store the bulbs indoors. Freesias may be perennial where summers are dry and winters cool and moist and above 32ºF. Grows 18-24". Blooms May-June. Hardy in zones 8-10. Indoor Culture: As a cool greenhouse or house plant, plant 6–8 corms 1" deep in a 6" pot with the pointed ends up. They do best when kept cool (50°) and in a well-ventilated area. Water lightly and do not let the plants dry out. After they have flowered, and the foliage becomes yellow, they can be dug, dried and kept for replanting the following fall.

Fritillaria imperialis

(Crown Imperial) In fall, plant 5-6" deep and 8" apart in a well-drained, alkaline, deep, sandy loam enriched with organic matter. Plant in a lightly shaded, sheltered area. Remove the dead flower heads before they go to seed. Water deeply in spring; refrain from watering in the summer. Bulbs should be left undisturbed. Bulbs and foliage have a pungent (somewhat skunky) odor, so you may want to plant it a distance from the house. This pungent odor is a natural deterrent to rodents in the garden. Grows 3-4' tall. Blooms April-May. Hardy in zones 4-8.

Fritillaria meleagris

(Guinea Hen Flower) In fall, plant in well-drained, alkaline, deep sandy loam amended with organic matter in a sheltered, lightly shaded area. Space 3-4" apart and 3-4" deep. Bulbs and foliage are odorless. Grows 15" tall. Blooms April. Hardy in zones 4–8.

Fritillaria michailovskyi

(Michael's Flower) In fall plant bulbs in well-drained, alkaline, deep, sandy loam amended with organic matter in full sun to light shade. Space bulbs 4-6" apart and 4-6" deep. For best effect, plant in clusters of 7 or 9 bulbs. Mulch lightly in late fall. Fertilize when new growth appears in the spring. Grows 4-8" tall. Blooms late May-early June. Hardy in zones 4–8.

Fritillaria pallidiflora

In fall, plant bulbs in welldrained, alkaline, deep, sandy loam amended with organic matter in full sun to light shade. Space bulbs 4- 6" apart and 4–6" deep. Mulch lightly in late fall. Fertilize when new growth appears in the spring. Grows 6-14" tall. Blooms early spring. Hardy in zones 4-8.

Fritillaria persica

(Persian Bell) In fall, plant in welldrained, alkaline, deep, sandy loam amended with organic matter in light shade to full sun. Space bulbs 6- 8" apart and 6-8" deep. Mulch lightly in late fall. Fertilize when new growth appears in the spring. Grows to 36" tall. Blooms April-May. Hardy in zones 5-9.


(Snowdrops) In early fall, plant in moist, humus-rich soil in sun to partial shade. Space bulbs 2" apart and 4" deep. Mulch lightly with shredded leaves in winter. Leave them undisturbed and they will naturalize happily without being divided. Do not fertilize. Since they are among the first bulbs up in late winter, you can plant them under deciduous trees. Plant in groups of 25 or more bulbs for best effect. Grows 6" tall. Blooms February-March. Hardy in zones 3-9.


Gladiolus grow best in sandy, welldrained soil rich in organic matter in full sun. After last frost, dig a trench 8" deep. For a flower border, dig a roundish or oval hole to give a more natural look than the soldier-like rows of a cutting garden. Add compost and Bulb Buddy™ to the trench, using one cup per 10' of row. Cover with 2" of soil. Firmly place bulbs on soil, pointed ends up, 6" apart. In a flower border, plant a group of at least 10 bulbs for best effect. Cover with remaining soil. Water well and add 2" of mulch to conserve moisture and keep the roots cool. Begin planting in mid-spring and continue to plant every two weeks until mid-July for flowers throughout the summer. Bulbs will bloom from 70- 100 days from planting, depending on the lateness in the season. Tall-growing varieties may need staking. Water well throughout the growing season. Fertilize when the flower spikes first appear and after the flowers are picked. Grows 3-5' tall. Gladiolus are susceptible to thrip infestation. To avoid problems, soak the bulbs for 2-3 hours just before planting in a solution of 4 teaspoons of Lysol in 1 gallon of water. Dig up the corms 4-6 weeks after the flowers fade. Remove as much soil as possible and cut off flower stalk 1" above corm. Dry and store the bulbs indoors for the winter. Hardy in zones 8-11.

Gladiolus Byzanthinus

(Hardy Gladiolus) In fall plant in well-drained garden soil in full sun. Plant the corms 4-6" apart in clumps approximately 3" deep. Fertilize when planting with any 5-10-5 fertilizer but avoid animal manure since it may encourage rot. In zones 2-3, mulch over the winter. Grows 15-18" tall. Blooms July-August. Hardy in zones 4-10.

Gloriosa superba 'Rothschildiana'

(Climbing Lily) After danger of frost has passed, select a slightly to medium shady spot in the garden where a trellis or fence can support the plants as they climb up to 6'. Dig a hole at least 6" deep and amend the soil with sand, leaf mulch and peat moss. If your soil is clay dig a bigger and deeper hole, adding more sand. Plant tubers horizontally 2-4" deep and 12" apart. Cover with remaining soil. Keep well-watered until shoots appear, then keep soil moist but not soggy. After the plants bloom, carefully dig up the tubers (they may be deeper than when planted). Clean the tubers and dust with sulfur to prevent disease. Store in dry peat moss for about 3 months until the pink buds form. Hardy in zones 7-11. Indoor Culture: Plant in pots 2-4" deep in a mixture of two parts rich potting soil, one part builders' sand and one part peat moss. Place in indirect light and keep soil evenly moist. Once it begins to grow, move into more sun and increase watering. Keep the temperature below 65°. After blooming, withhold water and fertilizer, allowing the plant to go dormant.

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