Category Archives: Other Bulbs for Warm Climates

Gloriosa Rothschildiana Superba Lily Tubers Fresh and Available Now!

Originally from Africa, Gloriosa lilies are beautiful, easy to grow, and will multiply.

Gloriosa Rothschildiana Superba Lily Tubers Fresh and Available Now!

Glowing crimson red with a yellow base and slight yellow edge, they are a splendid low climber, easy to grow. Grows 5-6 feet high, producing many lily-like flowers of exceptional beauty over an extended period, are suitable for potting and are long lasting cut flowers. If the flower vines are not cut, the tubers will double and they are perfectly adapted to our area. They will take full sun, good drainage. Water well while growing and provide something to climb on like walls, fences, trellises.

Gloriosa Lily Blooms

Culture of the Floriosa Lily:
Lay long tubers flat and cover with soil. The tubers can be planted in a trench along a fence or wall about 6″ apart and about 3-4″ deep in good soil with drainage. Water thoroughly. When growth begins in the spring. they should be given a liquid fertilizer once a week to encourage new growth. Later on in the season a half strength fertilizer added to the water every two weeks will keep plants blooming strongly throughout the summer and sometimes further into early autumn.

Gloriosa Tuber

The tubers are fresh and ready to plant!

How Many Tulips, Daffodils, Freesias to Plant?

Tulips, daffodils, and other flowering bulbs cover different areas owing to the size of the bulb and the square footage of the planting area.  Of course, if you prefer denser effects you can adjust the numbers.

In general you will want to plant the following bulbs in these quantities:

  • Tulips:   2″ apart or 9 tulips per square foot
  • Daffodils:   7 in a clump or 7 regular daffodils per square foot
  • Smaller Daffodils:   12 in a clump or 12 small daffodils per square foot
  • Freesias:    2″ apart or 16 freesias per square foot
  • Anemones:    2″ apart or 16 anemones per square foot
  • Peonies:    12″ apart or 1 peony per square foot
  • Giant Squill:   18″ apart or about 4 per every 3 square feet

The quantities differ when they are to planted in pots.  The bulbs should be planted almost touching which will double or triple the number per square foot depending on the desired effect.  You can also layer bulbs with larger bulbs like tulips and daffodils planted deeper and smaller bulbs planted on top of them so that their roots are not competing.

I planted heirloom freesias which were tiny with 100 to a pot and effect was gorgeous.  Underneath were planted tall narcissus which were blooming at the same time.


Freesia Alba Burtonii

Freesia – 25 per color or variety

Planting these heirloom freesias tightly together, gives a dense show. These antique freesias spread by dividing and also by seed and mine are developing beautiful seed pods right now! I will harvest the freesias and keep them in a cool, dark place until I replant them next fall in fresh potting soil as they have now spent two years in the same pot and will be very crowded as they will have grown larger. Daffodils can be replanted, but the tulips will not rebloom as well, as they divide after bloom into several smaller bulbs.

Bulbs, Corms and Peonies in Bloom May 7, 2012

Some new peonies are blooming in this first week of May.  I’ve seen the first blooms of Festiva Maxima, Mrs. F.D. Roosevelt is in bud, Henry Bockstoce, Gay Paree, Krinkled White, Charlie’s White, Mons. Jules Elie, Mr. Ed, other white variations of peonies are in bloom. Continuing to bloom are the ones listed last week, and still have some new buds opening on the Coral Charm and Coral Supreme.   The red peonies, Red Charm and Henry Bockstoce are in bloom.

Watsonia, a tall white bloom is starting to show up and the blue anemones are slowing down and about to call it quits, but there are new, shorter flowers coming up still.  The freesias are still blooming but also near the end.  Lilies are coming up including Stargazer and large Aurelian lilies that I used to grow for cut flowers, but are not easy to find these days.  They have big trumpets and strange downward drooping, hairy looking leaves, and will bloom in the later part of the summer.  Daffodils are still dying back and until they turn brown will not be cut or mowed.

These photos were all taken this morning.

Gay Paree

Gay Paree


Japanese Single Peony

Japanese Single Peony, White


Coral Peony

Coral Peony starting the change to Buff, White


Duchess de Nemours

Duchess de Nemours


Mr. Ed Peony

Mr. Ed Peony


Mons Jules Elie Peony

Mons Jules Elie Peony

Lily of the Valley – Convallaria Majalis – Naturalizing

Lilies of the Valley are one of the most fragrant and memorable of spring flowers. You can see people carrying bouquets of them in Europe on May 1st to celebrate the season, brides carrying them in their bouquets, and for sale in florist’s shops for very high prices! They grow like weeds in forests in Sweden, I’ve been told and are rampant in Eastern states as they spread in an invasive manner.  But in our area, where they are on the edge of the growing zones, they should be more controllable.

Find a location where the soil drains well in shade.  Amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2″-3″ to improve the drainage.  Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available. Lily of the valley plants like soils that provide average amounts of moisture but will not be happy in water logged settings.

Soak your pips in lukewarm water before planting. The pips will absorb water, wake up and be ready to take off. Just take the plastic bag your pips are shipped in, add enough lukewarm water so the peat in the bag is saturated and leave the bag in your sink for a couple of hours. The pips should swell a bit and become hard.

peony planting graphic

Plant your lily of the valley so the tops of the buds barely poke above the soil surface, about 1 1/2″ apart. Don’t wait too long, as pips can dry up if left out of the ground (and out of a humidity controlled cooler) for more than a week or ten days.

After planting, water generously, soaking the soil to settle it around the roots. Top growth will begin to form quickly, usually in just a week or so, depending on the amount of available. When in bloom, feel free to cut the petite bell-shaped flowers for bouquets. This will not hurt the plants.

Provide supplemental water, as needed in the spring, summer and fall; about 1″ total (rain and irrigation) per week is a good general estimate. Keep in mind that occasional deep waterings are better than frequent lighter drinks. Your lily of the valley will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle in spring.

Muscari or Grape Hyacinth, a Bulb that Naturalizes

Muscari or Grape Hyacinth, is a small bulb but perennial and suitable for planting around shrubs, roses, peonies and in other ground cover situation.  It is also a beautiful addition to pots of bulbs or with plants that will not obscure it. Naturalizes and self sows if allowed to go to seed.

In the photo of the pot above, the muscari have returned as did the narcissus, tulips, and freesias after a waterless summer and great neglect The muscari bulbs are planted with their bases 5″ below the surface of the soil and 3-4 inches apart in the garden and closer in pots if desired.

Blue River

At Keukenhoff Gardens in Holland, this is a famous display. A “River of Muscari” runs down a path between trees and other bulb insertions. I don’t know if they replace the muscari each year, but every time I’ve been there it has looked like this.

Muscari Armeniacum

The Muscari bulb is a fat little one full of energy for a beautiful blue addition to your bulb and flower displays.  Without summer water it will return and if allowed to set seed, will increase that way as well.

Muscari Armeniacum Bulbs