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Types of Flower Bulbs

While we speak generically about a whole family of flowers as "bulbs", chances are the one you are thinking about just might not be a "bulb". For those who really want or need to know the difference, here they are:

Dutch Bulbs

Flower bulbs are generally teardrop shaped, with a pointed top and a round bottom. The outer skin is dark brown and paper like.

Propagation is accomplished by division. Baby bulbs are produced and are attached closely to the mother bulb, at the bottom of the bulb. Baby bulbs are produced rapidly each spring. If not separated after a few years, the size of the flowers and plants diminishes as they compete for space and nutrients.

Why are they often referred to as "Dutch Bulbs"? - This is simply because many of the most popular  and highest quality bulbs, most notably Tulips are grown in Holland for sale around the world.

Common Name Botanical Name When to Plant When in Bloom
Allium Allium Fall Late Spring
Amaryllis or Lily Hippeastrum Summer Later Summer
Daffodils Narcissus Fall Spring
Grape Hyacinth Muscari Fall Spring
Hyacinth Hyacinthus Fall Spring
Iris Iris Fall Spring
Lily Liliun Fall Summer
Snowdrops Galanthus Fall Early Spring
Tulips Tulips Fall Spring


Corms are similar to bulbs, and most people do not know the difference. The bulb is shorter and rounder than bulbs, with a concave bottom. The outer skin is brown, and hard. It does not separate easily from the rest of the bulb. They usually have a flat top.

Corms propagate like bulbs, but the baby bulbs grow from the  top of the mother bulb. The mother bulb usually dies in one season ,after producing it's offshoot.

Common Name Botanical Name When to Plant When in Bloom
Autumn Crocus Colchicum Summer Fall
Crocus, Snow Crocus Crocus Fall Early Spring
Elephant's Ear Colocasia Spring Summer
Freesia Freesia Fall Spring
Gladiolus Gladiolus Spring Mid Summer

Rhizomes or Tubers

Rhizomes are plants with a root like stem. The enlarged stem grows underground, sending roots down and stem and leaves upward. Propagation is by dividing the tubers into separate parts with at least one eye.

In the vegetable world, examples are Potatoes, Yams,Ginsing, Ginger Root, and Jerusalem Artichoke.

Common Name Botanical Name When to Plant When in Bloom
Tuberous Begonia Begonia Spring Summer
Canna Canna Spring Summer
Caladium Caladium Spring Summer
Iris Iris Fall Summer
Lily of the Valley Convallaria Fall Spring

Tuberous Roots

Tuberous roots are similar to Rhizomes. Except it is a true root. The enlarged root sends out stems and leaves. Propagation is accomplished by separating the roots.

Common Name Botanical Name When to Plant When in Bloom
Clivia Clivia Anytime Spring
Dahlia Dahlia Spring Summer
Daylily Hemerocallis Spring Summer

More Gardening Information:

Flower Gallery  Find flower pictures of tulips, crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths and many of your flowers.


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