What bulbs do not need to be dug up?

ourfamilygarden(6)October 15, 2007

Hello. I'd like to know, with regard to planting bulbs in my area, what bulbs can I plant that I will not need to dig up each year? Also, is there a way to prepare the bed during winter, to better protect the bulbs?

I have lilies, which we bought as already grown plants, that come back each year. Some are Tiger Lilies. I'm not sure what the others are (but they are very pretty!).

We, also, had daffodils that came back for a couple of years, but didn't last year (after I'd moved them.).

Thanks!

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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

You shouldn't need to dig daffodils, hyacinths, muscari, scilla, bluebells, anemones, iris, snowdrops, snowflakes. I'm sure there are more, but these come to mind immediately. Be aware that bulbs, like most plants, need reasonably good soil that is well-drained and receives moisture, especially in the winter and spring. If your daffodils didn't return, here are some possible reasons why: the type you planted don't much like your area (this is doubtful, since you are farther north, but still possible), the soil was very poorly drained and they rotted, the soil was so infertile they starved to death, they were planted too deeply, they were moved at the wrong time. My bet is on the wrong time. All bulbs need to come up, bloom, and then ripen their foliage before they are cut back or dug. Lots of folks don't know this and cut the foliage back too soon because it's not very attractive. You need to let it turn yellow before you cut it off or the flower for next year, and even the bulb, will die. If you moved them before the foliage was ripe, you effectively did the same thing.

If this info is entirely too elementary for you, please forgive me. I'd advise you to do some good soil prep, follow the planting directions, and try again! We've all been there.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 5:37PM
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greenguy1(z7 Maryland)

The bulbs for sale in nurseries and garden centers in your area now are the ones that are winter hardy - as noted above, this includes all of the main classes of spring flowering bulbs, as well as tulips and crocus. Perhaps Donnabaskets did not mention tulips because the showy hybrid types tend to poop out after a couple of years (I dig them up and replant new ones every year, pretty much treating them as an annual); but, many of the species tulips, not huge and showy but beautiful in their own right, are very perennial.

I need to qualify what I wrote above - Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) and Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs are also all over the place in the stores right now, but they are being sold for forcing in pots for Christmas, and are not hardy outdoors in your zone.

It's not so cut and dried with bulbs sold in the spring - some are hardy, such as lilies, which are sold in both spring and fall, and some are not, such as Gladiolus - not reliably hardy in your zone, although they are in mine - and Dahlia. Here, you just need to look for the zone 6 hardiness in the description on the package.

- Steve

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 8:01AM
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