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what are bulbs?

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Playing in the Dirt    Container Gardening     What are Bulbs    Bulbs to Purchase    Seed & Plant Kits   

What are bulbs?

Spring and fall are the usual seasons we talk about bulbs. When you hear the word bulb, in terms of gardening, most people think of something in the shape of a tulip bulb. While there are several plants that make a start from this shape of bulb, there are several other shapes that are considered part of the bulb family.

True bulb Daffodils, Hyacinth, Lily, Tulips and Onions are what are called True Bulbs. A true bulb is thought to be a complete or nearly complete miniature of a plant that is enclosed in fleshy leaves called scales, which contain a provision of reserve food. If you were to cut a Hyacinth bulb in half (bud to root) it is most interesting to see that the flower is housed there, waiting to emerge into our world. Wrapped around a bulb is a thin outside covering called a tunic. These are like flakey leaves. The basil plate which is located at the base of the bulb holds the food storing scales together, and new roots will sprout from the outside edge of the basil plate once the bulb ends its dormant period and begins its growth cycle.

True bulb Gladiolus, Crocus, Acidanthera and Freesia fall under the category of Corms. The corm is the base of a stem that becomes swollen, and solid, with food for it to live on. It is usually covered by a type of tunic, somewhat like that which covers the bulb and there is a basil plate from which new roots grow. During the growth cycle, the crom's food reserve is completely depleted. In order to carry on, the crom will develope one or more new croms from the buds that appear either on the top or beside the old one.

True bulb Tubers have rough skin and produce roots from many parts of its surface. New plants come to life from eyes or growth buds from this short, fat, bumpy exterior. Anemone, Aladium, Gloxinia and Tuberous Begonia all belong to the tuber family. To reproduce, Begonias grow larger and produce growth buds while Caladium grow new tubers from the sides of the original.

Ranunculus and Dahlia are just a few that are part of the Tuberous Root family and in fact are truly real roots. Their food supply is kept in the root tissue and like tubers, they produce buds from which new plants grow. The growing area is often called the crown and the buds are restricted to the neck of the root where they grow on the base of the old stem.

True bulb Lily of the Valley, Canna and Callas all are grown from Rhizomes. A rhizome is a thick stem or rootstock that grows horizontally along or below the soil surface and every so often on the top or side of the rhizome, it sends stems above ground. Stems that have buds with scalelike leaves. Lily of the Valley send up "pips", small upright detachable growths that have their own roots, are detachable and can be stored for later planting.

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Playing in the Dirt    Container Gardening     What are Bulbs    Bulbs to Purchase    Seed & Plant Kits   

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