Bulbs for zone 9 in Florida

mboston_gwOctober 10, 2008

The only bulbs that I have planted here in Central Florida (between Tampa and Orlando) are Caladiums. Always planted them in late Jan. or early Feb. after a cold spell.

But Home Depot and Lowes are getting Bearded Iris, Amenomes, Daffodils, and some types of Lilies in now. I know some aren't for this area but what kind of Lilies are good and what about Amaryillis? (sp).

We usally have a couple cold spells, maybe a night or two of frost. It has been many years since we have had a hard freeze.

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Well, I think your weather is fairly similar to ours, mild winters, hot summers, some humidity? so I'll let you know what I've grown or seen in neighbors' yards year after year...

Amaryllis bulbs do really well, come back year after year, and put on a great show from November to January, depending on when you start them. The plain old red variety has been a staple in my neighborhood for ages, and I've started to see a cream colored one with mauve or pinkish edges and throats do very well the last few years. If you want to get a great bargain, wait till right after Christmas, and buy up the half-price amaryllis packaged as "kits" for gift giving. They come with a planting medium, plastic pot, and they are really quite hardy. I received one as a gift once, planted it, enjoyed the blooms, and lost track of it in my garden. The following year, it bloomed even after laying on its side in the pot for a whole year with no care.

Irises also seem to do pretty well. My mother had them for years, one year they came back, but just never bloomed again - just the foliage. I see them in a lot of yards around town. I planted some Ballerina irises this year, will see how they do this spring.

Day Lillies are a real winner! They need to be at the top of a slightly sloped or mounded area for good drainage. There are SO many varieties, all kinds of colors, from plain yellow, to burgandy almost black, to cream, to orange, so those are really versatile, and come back year after year. They seem to have a nice long blooming season here.

Cannas would do REALLY well, but I don't know if those are really a bulb or something else? In any case, they do great here.

Sorry I'm not more of an expert, so I can't give you any sage advice, but I hope this helps a bit. And what the heck, I say. Give some a try, and see what happens. At worst, you will know what to buy more of (or not) next year. I'm trying a few tulips this year that are supposed to be okay in zone 8...I'm in 9 also. We'll see.

Have fun!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 2:41AM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

If you don't mind treating them as an annual for spring then Anemones would probably go well from the list you've given.

At the other end of the alphabet is Zantedeschia (calla) although they do bulk up very rapidly (aka going rampant...).

Eucomis is a possible - particularly the deep burgundy varieties which will give leaf colour for spring and flowers in later summer.

Hippeastrum and Clivia are options - particularly for a low to no frost environment. Flowers in late winter and across into spring depending on the varieties.

Provided the bulbs are planted deeply in good and easy-draining soil then asiatic, oriental, Aurelian hybrids should all be fine so long as they have good air movement around them to offset any humidity-sourced disease problems. Asiatic lilies often aren't scented and may have a tendency to weediness but they're quite easy to keep under control and provide a bold splash of colour. All these lily types prefer cool feet over summer - and fade out if they become dry, so it definitely pays to mulch them well - and keep them watered while they are in active growth.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 2:34AM
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