Contact Me

Monday, March 24, 2014

So, that explains it

pink tulips
These tulips at the mailbox were bought at full-price, not a sale or cheap price. They were lovely the first year. Then, occasionally, I saw a puny bloom. It appears they are multiplying since I only had two or three bulbs to begin with.
Sometimes, I am a brilliant gardener. This time--not so much. For over 20 years I have waited for another bloom. It never happens! Until last year, I was totally unaware that bulbs had to be removed from the soil in order to get more blooms next year. Last fall, a Lowe's garden center employee casually mentioned that I did not have to leave the bulbs out of the ground for very long!
WHAT? Leave bulbs out of the ground? Dig them up each year? Gadzooks! Not a job for me! She explained that bulbs won't produce blooms if they are left in the ground over the winter or something like that. It is all a hazy memory right now.
As I was taking pictures on the first day of Spring, it hit me--I need to dig these up! Yeah, I know. But, my excuse is that I am still ill, coughing my lungs up still.
Then, on another blog someone mentioned that tulips cannot be naturalized. I knew that somehow the was not quite correct. I looked it up and found some can be naturalized. So, from now on, I will only purchase those. My friend told me that just digging tulips up, leaving them out long enough to get new soil or amend the old soil, and then replacing them in the pot will work. Bulbs are supposed to produce the next spring. We will see.

Here is what I found about naturalized bulbs:

When you shop for bulbs, you'll see some labeled as "good for naturalizing." This means that they can be counted on to come up year after year, and spread informally throughout your garden. The following spring- and summer-flowering bulbs are reliably perennial in habit. Plant bulbs in autumn.

(Average blooming periods in parentheses.)


Require sun. They can also manage on the sunny edges of woods.
Allium aflatunense -- Ornamental garlic (summer)
Allium giganteum -- Giant onion (summer)
Allium karataviense -- Turkestan onion (summer)
Allium moly --
Lily leek or golden garlic (summer)
Allium neapolitanum --
Naples onion, daffodil garlic, flowering onion (summer).
Allium oreophilum -- Ornamental garlic (early summer)
Allium sphaerocephalon --
Drumsticks, ballhead onion, round-headed garlic (summer). The best allium for naturalizing.


Need sun and are beautiful in borders.
Anemone blanda 'Blue Shades' -- Greek anemone, windflower (spring)
Anemone blanda Mixed -- Windflower mixed (spring)
Anemone blanda 'Pink Star' -- Windflower (spring)
Anemone blanda 'White Splendour' -- Windflower (spring)


Come in a wide range of colors and will spread quickly.
Crocus ancyrensis -- Golden bunch crocus (late winter/early spring)
Crocus 'Blue Bird' --
Botanical crocus (early spring)
Crocus 'Blue Pearl' -- Botanical crocus (early spring)
Crocus Botanical Mixed --
Species crocus (early spring)
Crocus 'E. P. Bowles' -- Botanical crocus (early spring)
Crocus 'Cream Beauty' -- Botanical crocus (early spring)
Crocus 'Jeanne d'Arc' -- Dutch crocus (spring/early summer)
Crocus 'Pickwick' -- Dutch crocus (spring/early summer)
Crocus purpureus grandiflorus -- Dutch crocus (spring/early summer)
Crocus 'Remembrance' -- Dutch crocus (spring/early summer)
Crocus 'Ruby Giant' -- Botanical crocus (late
winter/early spring)
Crocus 'Whitewell Purple' -- Botanical crocus (late winter/ early spring)
Crocus Yellow -- Dutch crocus (spring)


Don't naturalize in a competitive area.
Iris danfordiae -- Dwarf iris (late winter)
Iris reticulata 'Harmony' -- Dwarf iris (early spring)
Iris latifolia --
English iris, can cover whole yard (early summer)


Tolerate late snowfalls and work well with crocuses.
Muscari armeniacum -- Blue spike, grape hyacinth (spring)
Muscari botryoides 'Album' -- Grape hyacinth (spring)


Bring sunny colors to the garden before the taller tulips are in bloom.
Narcissus 'Actaea' -- Small-cupped daffodil (late spring)
Narcissus 'Barrett Browning' -- Small-cupped daffodil (midspring)
Narcissus 'Birma' -- Small-cupped daffodil (midspring)
Narcissus 'Carlton' -- Large-cupped daffodil (midspring)
Narcissus 'February Gold' -- Botanical daffodil (early spring)
Narcissus 'Flower Record' -- Large-cupped daffodil (midspring)
Narcissus 'Fortune' -- Large-cupped daffodil (midspring)
Narcissus 'Hawera' -- Botanical daffodil (late spring)
Narcissus 'Ice Follies' -- Large-cupped daffodil (midspring)
Narcissus 'Jack Snipe' -- Botanical daffodil (early to midspring)
Narcissus 'Minnow' -- Botanical daffodil (early spring)
Narcissus 'Mount Hood' -- Trumpet daffodil (midspring)
Narcissus 'Peeping Tom' -- Botanical daffodil (early spring)
Narcissus 'Salome' -- Large-cupped daffodil (midspring)
Narcissus 'Suzy' -- Botanical daffodil (midspring)
Narcissus 'Tete a Tete' -- Botanical daffodil (early spring)


Hard to naturalize. You must be cultivar-specific in choosing those you plant, as only certain ones will work. The following are recommended for a naturalized setting.

Tulipa 'Candela' -- Botanical tulip (early spring)
Tulipa 'Orange Emperor'-- Botanical tulip (midspring)
Tulipa 'Don Quichotte'-- Triumph tulip (midspring)
Tulipa 'Kees Nelis'-- Triumph tulip (midspring)
Tulipa 'Praestans Fusilier'-- Botanical tulip (early spring)
Tulipa 'Princeps'-- Botanical tulip (early spring)
Tulipa 'Purissima'-- Botanical tulip (early spring)
Tulipa 'Red Emperor'-- Botanical tulip (early spring)
Tulipa 'Red Riding Hood'-- Botanical tulip (midspring)
Tulipa 'Toronto'-- Botanical tulip (early spring)

These showy, lilyflowering tulips will also spread:
Tulipa 'Aladdin'-- (late spring)
Tulipa 'Ballade'-- (late spring)
Tulipa 'Maytime'-- (late spring)
Tulipa 'Red Shine'-- (late spring)
Tulipa 'White Triumphator'-- (late spring)

Darwin hybrid tulips such as these are great multipliers:
Tulipa 'Apeldoorn'-- (midspring)
Tulipa 'Apeldoorn's Elite'-- (midspring)
Tulipa 'Beauty of Apeldoorn'-- (late spring)
Tulipa Darwin Hybrid Mixed-- (mid- to late spring)
Tulipa 'Golden Apeldoorn'-- (midspring)
Tulipa 'Holland's Glorie'-- (late spring)
Tulipa 'Oxford'-- (midspring)
Tulipa 'Striped Apeldoorn'-- (late spring)

Also Good for Naturalizing

Brodiaea -- Star flower (early summer)
Camassia cusickii -- Quamash, Cusick camass (late spring)
Chionodoxa gigantea -- Glory-of-the-snow (early spring). Need sun.
Chionodoxa luciliae -- Glory-of-the-snow (early spring). Need sun.
Colchicum autumnale -- Meadow saffron (autumn). Need sun.
Erythronium -- Dog-toothed violet (spring). Good in shade.
Fritillaria meleagris -- Guinea hen flower (spring). Very good at naturalizing.
Galanthus nivalis -- Common snowdrop (late winter/early spring)
Ornithogalum umbellatum -- Star of Bethlehem (early summer). Good in shade with some sun.
Puschkinia libanotica -- Striped squill (spring)
Scilla campanulata Mixed -- Spanish bluebells (spring)
Scilla siberica -- Siberian squill (spring)
Another comment on the blog I was commenting on:
So, I suppose we can sort it all out for bulbs that do not have to be dug up yearly. Most of my bulbs will go into pots, so digging those up would not be difficult, just annoying. At least I can put pots on a table instead of getting on hands and knees.
This is my lesson of the year that I learned even though I learn something every year, this solves the puzzle of why my tulips only bloomed for a year, maybe two.
 Your turn
What large or small lessons have you learned about flowers or food gardening that solved a problem? Or, just helped you and could help me? I am listening.


  1. My mother had a beautiful Easter Lily, which was stressed, seemed to have died, but I put it out in the yard in the pot last summer, with the hope it would return.

    It didn't. I didn't think much about it, until it started growing and is now full, and I hope it blooms.

    Your explanation of what to do with bulbs explains my dismay.

  2. Jess,
    Hopefuly, the two of us have learned a valuable lesson. All this may not hold for an Easter Lily, who knows? Most of the time, I keep hoping, not really knowing what to do. There is plant food for bulbs, but I am certainly not going to suggest it quite yet. Only if it does not bloom would I do anything else this spring or summer without consulting someone or the internet.

    My dismay was great. The answer made my head spin.

  3. Weeds! Weeds I tell ya. Just the thing to feed my riding mower.

    1. Note to self---->never let Coffeypot near my flowers! lol

  4. I don't dig our tulips up and some of them have been blooming every year, and multiplying, for at least the last twenty years. I can however, no longer remember what variety they are. Though our winters are much milder than yours.
    We have found that bulbs are heavy feeders and most of them like sun.

  5. EC,
    Thanks. That must be a beautiful display you have. Thanks. This give me hope. Yes, I do suspect our winters are much colder. My friend said they were heavy feeders, but not in those words. I feel like I actually might be able to have tulips bloom every year now.

    My friend who grew African Violets assured me I had to throw out my bulbs and start over each year. I highly doubted that.


For the present, I am taking comment moderation off the blog.