Sunday, March 8, 2009
The first part in selecting healthy bulbs is knowing the bulb parts.
1. The tunic of a bulb is the paper-like outside of the bulb that protects it from damage and
keeps it from drying out.
2. The scale leaves are under the tunic and hold all the nutrients needed to grow the
3. The first parts of the plant to push through the soil are the immature leaves, closely
followed (or so we hope) by the flower bud and the stem.
4. The roots of bulb cultivars grow from the basal plate, which lies at the bottom of each
When selecting bulbs for bulb flower gardening, the bigger the better. Large bulbs ensure big,
Healthy bulbs are firm, well rounded, and heavy for their size. Although bulbs come in a range
of colors, some even with distinctive patterns, color should be uniform with no dark patches or
light splotches. Look for firmness and avoid any with soft spots or other signs of damage. Don't
buy bulbs that are cracked or deeply scratched. Discard any bulbs with weak spots or spongy
areas, which are signs of rot caused by disease or other damage.
Keep them in a cool, dry area away from sunlight until you're ready to plant.