Blog posts categorized as: Bulbs

Looking for a heat and drought tolerant perennial?

Oct 10, 2011

I get asked daily about what people can plant in their gardens here in Texas that will be low-maintenance, drought and heat tolerant, bloom with ease and tolerate some shade. There are not a lot of plants that fit that bill. If you're asking yourself that question and you want to plant right now (because it's PERFECT planting weather), then, WELL...what about Daffodils?

Yes, daffodils. I know, most of you will probably say, "but, daffodils are bulbs...". And you're right, they are bulbs. But they are also really tough drought tolerant perennials that can be planted in areas that receive some shade. They are especially great under deciduous trees, because they'll receive plenty of direct light while they are growing and before the trees leaf out.

The type of daffodils that typically perform best in the heat and humidity of the South are most of the Jonquil hybrids, however most Narcissus do very well. You'll find that the classic Trumpeted types are the group that tend to be least-adapted in terms of multiplying or long-term perennialization. The large- and small-cupped types do better.

Some of my favorites include 'Quail', N. bulbicodium, 'Jetfire', 'Hawera', and 'Thalia'. I also love the pinky/peach cupped varieties like 'Precocious' and 'Pink Charm', not to mention some of the fun split-corona types like 'Orangery'.

October-December is prime time to plant your daffodil bulbs in Texas. When you do plant, plant them deep! You'll find they are happiest when planted about 8"-12"inches deep, as the bulbs/roots like the cooler soil temperatures. Plus, this allows you to plant some seasonal color, like violas, right on top of them. The exception to this would be the mini-daffodils which have much smaller bulbs -they can be planted 4"-6" deep, so they are perfect for tucking in around already established perennials.

Mix some bulb-food in with the soil when you plant and water in. In the spring, after blooming, you'll want to allow the foliage to continue to grow, until the leaves start to fade and flop over, then you can cut the foliage down, but not before. Feed your established bulbs just after they finish blooming each year with a bulb food.

Daffodils will go dormant by the time summer comes they won't even notice that the rest of us are baking away in the heat!

Rain Lillies Blooming!

Sep 14, 2011

Ok, it's officially Fall. I realize "official fall" is still another week away, but the rain lillies are blooming and that's always my signal that fall is here. Actually, they started blooming 3 or 4 days ago in my garden. I have a number of small clumps of white, copper and a couple of other colors, transplanted from the garden at my previous house.


Zephyranthes candida

It means the night temperatures are coming down and barometric pressure is changing, favoring rain. And sure enough, we got some rain today. Isn't nature cool?!

Streetside spring blooms…

Mar 27, 2011

Just a highlight of a few blooms popping out in the new front bed. It's a work in progress...It's the only pre-existing bed at the new house- a crecent shaped bed that sits in front of a concrete circular drive. It's really the main feature of the front landscape. It was full of Bermuda grass, some dead zinnias, groundcover junipers in poor shape and a large row of 30-40 year-old yaupons with trunks the size of large trees! In January, I ripped out everything in the bed, amended with compost, expanded shale and some humus...and started planting. Here's what's pretty so far...


Right now the bed is planted with chard, spinach, cilantro, dill, strawberries, rosemary, rain lilies, roses, tomatoes, echinacea, daffodils, violas and more...even have baby tomatoes on the 'Sapho' plants already.

Daffodil 'Delnashaugh'

Another split corona daffodil...blanking on the cultivar at the moment

Rose 'Easy Does It'

Rose_pat austin
Rose 'Pat Austin'

Even after the harsh freezes and ice in January, the strawberries are blooming and fruiting their heads off...

Almost Tulip Planting Time…

Nov 26, 2010

Blushing ladyNow that we've had our first light frost, we are on our way to tulip planting time in North Texas. Soil temperatures need to be consistently below 50F and that usually happens the 2nd or 3rd week of December. You can still find a wonderful selection of pre-chilled tulips at your local garden center right now so don't wait or you'll miss out on your favorite varieties.You can go HERE to a previous post for more info on the ins and outs of successful tulps!

Live in Texas? Time to plant some bulbs!

Oct 14, 2010

Well, I don't want to jinx anything, especially considering what we experienced last October, but this month has just about been the nicest we've seen in a long time! The weather is great, night temperatures's a great time for planting just about anything.


It's an especially good time to get Narcissus (Daffodils), Lycoris, Anemone, Leucojum, Muscari, Hyacinthoides, Dutch Iris and many other perennial bulbs in the ground. The next couple of weeks will be peak availability at the local garden centers so you'll have the best selection of bulbs to choose from. Don't wait until December because many varieties will be long gone.

Time for Tulips!

Oct 10, 2010

If you live in Texas and want to have a beautiful spring display of tulips, now is the time to get planning. Garden Centers should have their best selection of spring bulbs in-stock by about mid-October. There are a few keys to having great looking tulips that bloom on time next spring.

1. You must buy bulbs that are properly pre-chilled. Tulips require a vernalization. That means about 8-10 weeks of soil temperatures between about 45F and 50F and then a return of warm temperatures to produce a flower bud. If the bulb does not get the proper vernalization, it won't bloom. Also, if a bulb has been pre-chilled and then left out in warm temperatures for long enough, it will de-vernalize...and not bloom. You can try chilling your tulip bulbs in the refrigerator, but that only works for small quantities and most refrigerators are set colder than is optimal for tulip bulb vernalization. Then there is also the moisture and ethylene problem in the fridge.

2. Plant them on time. In my extensive experience with planting large tulip displays, the best time in the DFW area to plant tulip bulbs is about the third week of December. You have to wait until soil temperatures are consistently below 50F. The golden rule is don't plant them before Thanksgiving and try to get them planted by the end of December.

3. Plant them deep. Plant them 6"-8" deep from the tip of the bulb to soil surface. I usually plant mine at least 8" deep. The biggest mistake people make here when they plant tulips is planting them too shallow. Temperatures fluctuate more in the top few inches of the soil. So if you plant your tulips only 3"-4" deep, they will often emerge too early (especially when we have those January thaws). This can result in wimpy flowering, or the flowers being damaged by a subsequent frost. They can also blast, meaning the flower will open down at ground level. This is a result of the bulb being exposed to high temps very quickly after vernalization. By planting them deep, they will be insulated from those early warm temps and they will bloom on-time. Adding a couple of inches of mulch on top of the soil will help.

SO, to recap:

1. Only buy properly pre-chilled tulips.

2. Plant them on time: December.

3. Plant deep! minimum of 6" deep, 8" is better.

AND, you can attend my next bulb 101 class HERE

Iris mystery solved!

Aug 24, 2010

So you may have seen this post some time ago about a mystery Iris in my garden. My new friend Kelly Norris from Rainbow Iris Farm was nice enough to ID it for me...finally!!


This is Iris 'Thornbird'. Such a lovely combination of beige and purple! I'll be bringing in some loose rhizomes of 'Thornbird' the first week of September at NHG. FABULOUS!

Iris ‘Orange Glaze’

Apr 22, 2010

Alessandra told me I was I figured I'd better get some photos up here! Oh the Irises sure are pretty right now! One of my absolute favorite just opened it's first flower. 'Orange Glaze'...I think the name says it all!


And a few other mystery beige Iris...this Iris is super fragrant, with the scent of honeysuckle. It's fantastic. With the most striking purple stamen. Tons of blooms. I only wish I knew which variety it was! I originally purchased 'Superstition' rhizomes (a "black" flowered variety) and this is what came up! I've just got to do some digging around in some Iris registries to see if I can figure it out. Anyone?


And Iris 'Victoria Falls'...


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