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Thread: What should I look for when buying bulbs ?

  1. #1
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    What should I look for when buying bulbs ?

    Wally World has some unbelievable buys on Fritillaria (1 @4.88) and Globemaster Allium(3 @ 6.88) but the question is am I buying a pig in a poke. The allium bulbs seemed as hard as rocks; now I know I don't want soft bulbs but is there some other clue that would help figure out if they are still alive. Same thing with the Fritallaria. Maybe if you've seen them in the store you'll know what I'm talking about. It's great to make these somewhat pricey bulbs affordable but not if they are duds. So, any pointers on bulb selection would be great. Thanks!
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




  2. #2
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    When shopping for bulbs anywhere, but especially at the "box" stores, always check for firmness! Bulbs should feel smooth to the touch, no wrinkles. Skins may or may not always be present actually on the bulbs. No wet spots, no soft spots! Allium and the Crown Imperials are a very hard and solid bulb, I purchased both types last year and they did great.

    With Tulip bulbs, always buy the biggest ones they offer as the small bulbs do not always bloom the first season. The bigger bulbs do cost more (per bulb) but they are worth it and can last for several years in the garden without having to be replaced.

    Daffodil, Narcissus and Jonquils should also be of good size for their type. Having multiple "noses" is always a plus, but you are more likely to find those only in the Daffodil and Narcissus groups.

    Let's not for get about the "minor" bulbs, Crocus, Grape Hyacinths, Allium Molly and that type of small flowered Allium, also the Dutch Hyacinths. With some of these "minor" bulbs it is better to purchase them from a Nursery or Independent Garden Center (NOT a box store). They will also have a much wider selection, not only of these minor bulbs but the larger, more traditional bulbs as well.

    Of course, there is also mail order and INTERNET sources, but be aware that even with bulbs, you get what you pay for!

    Rebecca
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    Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.
    - R. Buckminster Fuller

  3. #3
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    They have the Fritillaria in the Walmarts here, also. They are good sized bulbs, just a little larger than the less expensive smaller Amaryllis bubs ($3.83, I think).

    The sooner you plant these bulbs, the better.

    I'm not sure if this particular bulb will survive our heat, but at this price, I'd be willing to try. The ones they are selling here are orange, though.

    Rebecca, I like yours....
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  4. #4
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    Hard to believe that that little purple, checkered bloom is related to the tall, stately Crown Imperial isn't it! It is one of my most favorite of the minor bulbs and not something you can get at Wal-Mart!

    This is Fritillaria meleagris; Common name: Snake's-head Fritillaria, Guinea-hen flower. I have only one, that's right, one. It never seems to multiply, but it always blooms for me every Spring. It needs more moisture and more peat and organic matter than what it has where it is, but I am afraid to try to move it, as you can't find them just anywhere!

    Ann, my Crown Imperial blooms in late May and is dormant here before it gets hot. In fact I think it goes dormant almost as quickly as it appears and blooms in the Spring! So, it just might be okay for you. They do get planted a lot deeper than other spring-flowering bulbs, so that may have something to do with it. Perhaps you could plant yours a couple of inches deeper?

    Rebecca
    Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.
    - R. Buckminster Fuller

  5. #5
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    Thanks All ! Great Advice ! Re "the sooner ..plant..the better" I think that also applies to buying them because the longer they lay in the store(often in a hot window), the worse off they'll be.
    The Fritalleria I bought from a nursery on sale in January didn't even grow..I think it had layed around too long at the store(and maybe where I put it was too dry). But like Ann says I'm willing to try (again). Oh, BTW, Home Depot also has these bulbs as well.
    I looked at bulbs at one of our local 3 location nurseries and , yes, they have a much better selection of tulips and daffs. I think the tulips were .69 each.
    Thanks again !
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




  6. #6
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    Good idea!

    I'll give thant a try.

    Rebecca, I think most of my clematis made it and are continuing to thrive in full sun. I had to move them before the downed tree was removed. They were in the path of destruction.

    I peaked today, and saw several amongst all the plants still in full sun, and they seem to be doing just fine. They are stll so tiny.

    Some of the slightly larger ones had broken vines, but there was no time to pot the broken vines. I barely had time to remove them from under the fallen tree limbs.

    I tried to tuck them in crevices between other plants that would shade the pots some from the noon sun.

    We will see when I get all of the debree removed. There is still more, but the area is fairly cleared now. I have to replace any and all landscape fabric. It was torn to shreads.

    The only plant that I really regret losing is the Deutsia I started from my Mom's. There was another, a smaller one, and I haven't found it yet. I can't get another cutting. When she sold the place, they cleared everything.
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


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