can I tell from a bulb what plant it will be?

MariannnaJuly 5, 2014

I recently purchased 200 bulbs at an estate sale.
They are supposed to be a mix of crocus, daffodil and tulip bulbs.
Is it possible to tell by looking at the bulb what kind of plant it is?
The bulbs range in size, from 0.5 inches to 1 inch to 1.5 inches to 2 inches.
I now see that it is necessary to know what bulbs they are in order to know how deeply to plant the bulbs in the fall.

Also, if it is not possible to tell, what depth would you advise that I plant them?
Should I plant the smallest bulbs less deep?
Should I vary the depth and see what pops up?

Any help you can give would be appreciated.

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Campanula UK Z8

Yes, these bulbs are very different from each other and easily identifiable. As a rule of thumb. bulbs are planted at twice their own a 2inch tulip bulb will need to be at least 6 inches below the surface - 2 inches for itself plus 4inches extra depth.
The crocus will be the smallest bulbs, the tulips will have a smooth outer skin (called a tunic) Both of these bulbs are actually corms, while the daffodils will have a snout where the stem will emerge from and looks faintly onion like as it is a layered bulb. The planting time is usually around September - cool enough to prevent forced growth but warm enough for roots to establish. Good luck and enjoy your bulbs next spring.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 5:27PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Where are you located? That would determine the most appropriate planting time.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 10:02PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Here are tulips.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 3:01AM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Here are narcissus.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 3:03AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

iris_gal ,

Actually it looks like the picture directly above is a narcissus (daffodil) on the left, and a tulip on the right.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 4:45PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Thanks Chemocurl. I believe you're right. The growth tip does look like a tulip. Sorry everyone for any confusion.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 2:04AM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

As you can see in the pictures supplied above, the Narcissus/daffodils have a plate at the bottom and the remains of old roots around it. Their skins are usually quite thin and papery. It's not common to find them 'bald' and they often have daughter bulbs to one side, growing off that basal plate. Two 'noses'. You can plant the two together. No need to separate them. If they fall apart as they dry out - just plant them both as if they were individuals.

The tulips generally have thicker skins. They don't sound like daff bulbs when you rub them. Some may have lost their skins entirely. A few may have a green mold on them. They'll usually grow. However, if they have shrivelled and corky patches they may not grow well at all. They do best with good sun and excellent drainage. Make sure your compost has been spread at least a month before planting.

Crocuses could be either spring-flowering or autumn/fall. They'll be less likely to be disturbed if you plant them in a patch of, say, seven or more. Somehow an odd-number planting looks more pleasing... Their skins can look like either fine thread or papery, often a grey-brown, that comes to a point on the top. The sprouts look sharp. Little 'vampire teeth'.

There's no chance of planting any of them upside down but, if it doubt, plant the bulb on its side. They know which way is up :-).

If you have anything that looks like a large-ish tulip bulb but distorted, you may have acquired a Colchicum/autumn crocus. They flower first and wait for several weeks before putting out their leaves over the winter. Keep separate from the others and leave them for several years before disturbing.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 3:47AM
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