Working with Bulbs and Bulbils

Written by Amy Gordon (last updated November 22, 2023)

Some of the key things needed in planting flowers are the bulbs and bulbils the flowers grow from. It can be a little pricey to have to buy these things every year, but fortunately the flowers that you have already planted have everything you need to keep your planting up for the long haul.

If you are a serious gardener, you probably have long term plans for your garden. If this is the case, you can easily save some money by harvesting the tubers, corms, bulbs, or bulbils that your bulb plants produce, rather than buying new ones every season. If you want to become a serious gardener, but do not know what bulbils are, they are the tiny dark bulbs produced by tiger lilies and fire lilies in the angle between the leaf and the stem.

To harvest these items from the plant, pluck the bulbils just after the flowers have faded and divide the tubers, corms and bulbs. Plant bulbils in containers of potting soil just below the surface, and divide bulbs in the ground at the usual depth. Remember to make sure you have the right depth, because this varies from plant to plant, and using the wrong depth will confuse the bulb, causing it to grow incorrectly. Also, make sure to space the bulbs a good distance apart so that you will not have to thin the growing bulbs before the roots have been established. Bulb and space planting guides can be found in gardening books or on the Internet.

The biggest problem with using this method is that bulbils take a long time to flower. It can take between three and four years for the bulbils to really become flowering plants, but eventually they will blossom, even if you are using bulbils from hybrid lilies.

Do not think of bulbs as solely spring bloomers. Plant the traditional tulips, daffodils, snowdrops, and grape hyacinths for spring, but also consider putting in gladioli and Galtonia for summer, colchicums for autumn, and winter-flowering crocuses for the colder months. Pots of cyclamen, amaryllis, and other bulbs can brighten your windowsill on gloomy winter days.

Author Bio

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon loves keeping things simple, natural, and safe so she can spend more time having fun. Every day she learns new things about making life at home easier and she loves to share it with you! ...


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