plating bulbs in the south

bria0128September 14, 2006

I've been wanting to plant some bulbs for a while now, and was looking around for some to plant when I found a site that sells them. But they constantly remind me:

"We do not recommend planting (unless you know what you are doing) in the southern portions of AL, AZ, CA, FL, LA, MS, NM or TX."

Well, I DON'T really know what I'm doing. And given I live as south as it gets in one of those states I'm now doubting my ability to grow any of the bulbs they have listed.

I know about Spider Lillies, Rainlily, etc...those few and far between native bulbs. But I'd SO like to try something else.

Are there any avid bulb growers from zone 8+ here to give any advice?

I was especially set on growing crocus, is that too out of the question? :/

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try here

Here is a link that might be useful: southern bulb company

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 10:15PM
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I have crocus return in the Dallas area. I assume you are further south. You might do what I do with tulips: stick them in the fridge then plant when it gets cool outsid. I have a box of crocus from Sam's in the fridge right now.

I'll plant in mid or late Oct. They'll start blooming in Jan or Feb. Even if they are an annual for you, you'll get a lot out of a small investment and they might just surprise you next year. Last winter was unusually warm for us but the crocus were blooming just fine. If it's very dry where you live, you will need to water them. So you don't forget, plant an annual there, when it droops you know you need to give a good deep water to them and the bulbs.

good luck

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 10:23PM
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Thanks! I think I'll give crocus a shot. I can at least enjoy them a couple years maybe. Now my problem is finding a place to order them...everywhere I look they'll have one thing but not another. Rather onconvenient.

Thanks again :)

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 12:30AM
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little_dani(9, S. Tex Coast)

I am in zone 9, down on the Texas Coast. Hot here.

I grow daffodils, anemones, ranunculus, freesias, crinum, tons of alliums, and lilies of just about all description.

I just will not waste my time and money trying to grow tulips or hyacinth.

Try Van Englen, Scheepers, Brent & Becky's, Johnny's, for bulbs and good prices too.

We have to chill our bulbs, as they will not get that in the ground here. I have bulbs in the fridge already that I have picked up when they first came in around here. Also, wait until your soil cools. I didn't plant last year until December, and some things didn't go into the ground until Jamuary.

I am not the expert, by any means. I have had good teachers.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 9:07AM
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The crocus at Sam's are just as nice as those from Van Engelen or Scheepers. They might be a tiny bit smaller, but not much at all. The same bulb distributor sells to Lowe's but they often store theirs outside where it's hot and that's not good here in TX were it gets really hot.

When you plant a crocus, you'll plnat it 3 times as deep as the bulb is tall soi, about 3 inches deep. You need to see what the coldest months are for you. Here, it's January and I like to get my crocus in the ground so they can start growing before it gets too cold. That might not be an issue for you. I would chill them and remember, don't store apples in the same fridge with your bulbs.

let us know how it goes

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 4:52PM
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@ little_dani - Do your bulbs come back yearly? I've been wondering about that. Do they "peter out" over a couple of years like I've heard?

I've read in a book about planting in Alabama that Species Tulips (Clusiana, etc?) do well even in the South. That they can naturalize. I just never know if they're counting way down South Alabama (8b) too. :/

Thanks everyone for the advice, it means a lot.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 11:56PM
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Nell Jean

I plant in zone 8b somewhere east of Dothan. I've grown tulips. They are, as Janie said above, too much trouble. I might grow them again, while she's not paying attention. The species tulips that I planted never bloomed but they returned foliage faithfully for years.

I grow hyacinths and many return. It has to do with good drainage and the right soil and pure luck, I'm convinced.

Squirrels ate all the crocus I ever planted. I do have sternbergias blooming now, and Lycoris (red spider lilies).

The better choices in spring bulbs, in my opinion, are daffodils. Choose carefully. Tazettas, jonquillas, miniatures and some large cups will return for years. Most will benefit from chilling prior to planting the first year. 'King Alfred' type and other trumpets are a waste of time and money.

Take a look at my website for what works for me; there are several pages devoted to spring bulbs, including some suggestions for what to plant.


Here is a link that might be useful: You Can Grow Daffodils in the South

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 1:48PM
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Thanks much Nell! You're site will be very helpful. Very beautiful plants!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 4:42PM
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I am trying to find out the chill hours in south Alabama zone 9....Baldwin County annual hours demal

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 12:30PM
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You might want to look at Scott Ogden's book on growing bulbs in southern gardens. Perhaps you can have a copy sent to your local library.

Here is a link that might be useful: Scott Ogden's book

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 6:42AM
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demal your local extension service will be able to give you your chill hours. Look under county offices in your phone book. Al

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 9:10AM
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