Bulbs and Bulblets

Many flowers and vegetables grow from roots. Many others grow from Tubers, Rhizomes, and Bulbs. The popular Tulip is a prime example of a Flower grown from a Bulb.

If you live in an area where the ground freezes, many Bulbs and Tubers need to be removed from the garden if you plan to have them bloom in future seasons. Tulips are "hardy" (not damaged by freezing) in most areas. But many bulbs are not hardy. 

Even Bulbs that are Hardy may benefit from occasional removal. Many Bulbs produce new Bulblets and may eventually become too crowded to produce optimum blooms. They should then be "divided", by planting them farther apart.

Bulbs can be removed from the soil after the top growth has turned brown. Until then, the Bulb is busy growing, storing energy, and producing offspring; Bulblets. These Bulblets may be planted in containers to mature and become part of your collection.

On the left are 4 Bulbs with their many attached Bulblets of various sizes. The Mother Bulb provides nourishment to the attached Bulblet during its formation. (sound familiar?) In the center are the 4 Bulbs with their 72 Bulblets removed. Some Bulbs may have many Bulblets. Others may have a few or none, depending on growing conditions.

On the right is a cleaned Bulb with the root bud removed for winter storage. When the Bulbs are removed from the soil they should be spread out to dry, making the clinging soil easy to remove with a brush, being careful not to damage the Bulb's skin.

When they are dried and cleaned, the root bud should separate from the Bulb with minimal effort. If it does not, it may not be dry enough. Store the dry, cleaned bulbs in a porous material which does not confine moisture. A Citrus bag is good for this purpose. A bucket filled with dry sawdust also works well. Store them in a cool, dry area.

In early spring, plant the Bulbs and Tubers according to the Growers instructions. Planting Bulbs in Hardware Cloth buried in the soil will deter Moles and other chewing creatures. It may also  allow you to lift out a grouping of Bulbs after loosening it with a garden fork or shovel. This protects the Bulbs and Bulblets from digging damage.


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Health and Happiness,
from the staff of Garden Grapevine