What are bulbs?Botanically, Bulb is a specialized plant organ, which is a modification of stem with scaly leaves. In bulbs, the stem is reduced to a disc around which fleshy leaf scales remain attached.
The word ‘Bulb’; in commercial horticulture and gardening means much more than the strict botanical interpretation. Besides bulbs, this includes corms, rhizomes, tubers and other underground plant parts.
What are bulbous plants?Plants that produce underground bulbs are called bulbous plants. Many of the bulbous plants are ornamental flowering species. These plants can be grown by planting their bulbs instead of sowing seeds.
It is much easier to grow plants by bulbs provided the basic cultural norms are followed. Different species of Lilies are attractive and easy to grow bulbous plants. Buy flower bulbs online.
Basics of planting the bulbs:Bulbs are commonly grown in borders and can be planted in the ground at many places in groups. In India, time of planting bulbs will vary from place to place. Eg. Gladiolus bulb can be planted almost throughout the year, though the best planting months are June and October-November.
Read more about Growing Gladiolus
Planting bulb in soil:As a thumb rule, bulbs are planted at about twice or thrice their depth. The primary and the most important prerequisite for growing bulbs is to have perfect drainage.
It will be a good idea to add coarse sand and leaf mold in the soil to improve the drainage. You can also add well-rotted cow manure and bonemeal to the soil.
The newly planted bulbs should not come in contact with fresh manure.
Growing bulbs in pots and containers:Growing bulbs in pots and containers have its own charm as they can be used for indoor or outdoor decorations. The bulb is planted in a good quality, porous potting soil with the crown of the bulb just above the soil.
Initially, keeping the pots in the dark encourages better root growth. Bulbs can be grown in soilless potting mixtures like gardenia Pot-o-mix.
The size of pot varies according to the type of bulb. Usually, 10 to 12-inch pots are good enough. After the bulbs start growing, the pot can be gradually exposed to the sun, but should never be exposed all of a sudden to too much light.
After flowering is over, the bulbs are taken out and planted in the ground as these will not flower again in pots due to depletion of stored food. Every year new bulbs are needed for pot culture.
Lifting and storing bulbs:Bulbs have three phases in life history, namely - The resting phase, the growing period and the flowering season.
The lifting of bulbs is done from the soil when the flowering season is over. During the resting period, bulbs are stored in dry sand and aerated conditions. Bulbs are ready for plantation again during the growing season (e.g., monsoon).
Some hardy bulbs do very well even when left on their own in the ground for 3-4 years.
Important ornamental bulbous plants for ground and pot culture:
- Flowering bulbous plants: Achimenes, Allium, Amaryllis, Anemone, Snake lilies, Crinum, Dahlia, Gladiolus, Iris, Lilies, Narcissus Lily, Tuberose, Tulips.
- Foliage bulbous plants: Begonias, Caladium, Oxalis, etc.
- Bulbous vegetables: Onion, leek, chives, Garlic
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