|Frequently Asked Questions
Southern Bulbs 101
the following, you will be a well-equipped and informed Southern Bulb
Bulbs are an 'underground storage structure.' Amazingly,
can be dug up during dormancy, shipped halfway around the world, replanted
offer blooms in a similar climate to their original home.
usually involves first shooting up foliage (although some bulbs bloom first,
with foliage following) which lasts for several months. When landscaping,
can often mix bulbs in with liriope or other border plants for an attractive
display. During the time when the foliage (green grass-like leaves) is
most bulbs need to get at least a half day of sun. It really doesn't matter
the bulb is in a shady spot during its bloom period. The foliage is what
the sun for photosynthesis to occur, thus allowing the bulb to get full
develop a bloom and remain healthy. After the foliage has been up for a
the bulb shoots up its bloom in all it's glory. Enjoy this time. Next, the
foliage begins to fade away by turning yellow, then brown, then disappearing
together. The yellowing of foliage does not mean the bulb has died. Bulbs
'underground storage structures' that take the nutrients it gets from the
foliage and then stores them in the bulb underground for next season. The
is now dormant. Again, it is not 'dead.' If the bulb was planted in an
environment it is not well-suited for (such as a cold climate bulb in a hot
climate) it may die. However, bulbs grown in the climates they are suited
will store away the previous years nutrients and prepare for next year's
This is the best time to move the bulb, if desired. It is very stable during
this time -- and, as would be expected, is the state in which we harvest the
bulbs and ship them to you.
Each bulb has slightly different care
requirements, however there are a few good "rules of thumb" for bulb
1) Grow bulbs that are well-suited for your climate 2) Plant them at a depth
about three times the height of the bulb for fall bulbs. For spring bulbs, rain lilies generally only need about an inch of soil over the bulb, and crinums (along with Hymenocallis and Amaryllis) should be planted with a portion of their neck above the ground and the main section (rounder section) of the bulb just under the ground 3) Plant them at a spacing of about
bulb widths to prevent crowding 4) Give them at least a half-day of sun when
foliage is present (usually in the winter) 5) Apply mulch over the bulbs to
them cool and increase the drainage of your soil 6) Don't be intimidated.
Because of lackluster success with most bulbs available on the market,
successful bulb gardening has become elusive to most gardeners. Remember:
what is suitable for your area. Fighting nature makes gardening more
than it should be... and that's it -- now you're ready to garden with bulbs!
I plant my bulbs?
If we shipped you the bulbs, it's time to
We ship only at planting times! You may be used to chilling or storing your
bulbs until precisely the right time... which is not necessary with our
Southern Bulbs are from the South, grown in Texas and are happiest in the
ground. There is no need to trick the bulbs into believing they are in a
climate or a different season of the year. Plant them now and leave them in
ground to multiply over the years!
can I dig and divide my bulbs?
Bulbs generally have three
states in their life cycle: a) Bloom b) Foliage c) Dormant. The most
thing to remember is not to dig the bulbs when they are blooming or when
foliage is present and green. The best time to dig and divide is when the
foliage is yellowing/browning and fading away. This means the bulb is
its dormant state and is most "stable" for replanting and transporting.
this does not mean the bulb is 'dead.' See Southern Bulbs
101 for more info.) Can you move the bulb with the foliage up? Well...
just do it very quickly, keeping the roots moist and plant it immediately in
good soil. It may "shock" the bulb out of blooming the next year, but if you
it quickly, it will survive. Some bulbs, however, are tougher than others.
said, it is best to follow our initial advice and wait until the foliage is
yellowing or faded.
bulbs will grow well in my area?
Although 'hardiness zones' are
always the best indicator (but the best we have) of whether a plant will be
successful in your garden (there are other factors, such as soil, sun/shade,
etc), it is the industry standard by which we rate plants and bulbs. You can
search our website on the main page by your zone by clicking on the left
side links. If you don't know your zone, you can find it here: Find My Zone
take care of my bulbs?
Question! Here are 5 Steps of Planting for
1) Step one is not required, but
recommended: Prepare your soil with some organic matter and what ever amendment might be needed to help it reach a loamy consistency (like expanded shale for clay soils). Over-fertilization can often lead to lots of
foliage and no blooms. Be careful - these bulbs thrive on
2) Plant at a depth of about three
the height of the bulb and a spacing of 2-3 bulb widths. The only
exception are the spring planted bulbs, which should be planted with the top showing through
surface and the main section of the bulb below the soil.
3) Make sure the bulb is in a spot that
get at least a half day of sun.
For fall bulbs, planting under deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves
in the winter) is a
4) Mark your bulbs!
(doesn't have to be fancy, popsicle sticks will
Be patient. Bulbs teach us to wait patiently for a great
reward: a season of beautiful blooms... and with Southern bulbs, you'll be
envy of the neighborhood!
my bulbs didn't bloom?
The Southern Bulb Co. only ships healthy
bulbs that are of blooming size and have received proper care while they are
our possession. That is our committment to you.
However, if a bulb
not bloom, it can be diagnosed through the following
the bulb produce foliage?
If 'yes,' then your Southern bulb is not
Congratulations! This means it probably got exposed to heat, did not get
sun/water or underwent other adverse conditions. We advise you to wait until
foliage yellows and move it to a location that gets more water and sun.
If 'no,' there is a serious problem. Most likely, your bulb did not
it. The only way to know for sure is to dig it back up. Once out of the
see if the bulb feels soft and rotten. If not, good news -- the bulb was
probably exposed to adverse conditions before planting but is hanging on for
dear life! Replant it and expect a bloom next year! If it does feel soft,
are a few possible causes:
Was the bulb submersed under flooding for
extended period of time? It may have rotted in those conditions.
bulb left in the direct sunlight for a period before planting? Extreme heat
direct sun may have killed the bulb.
Was the bulb planted at a depth of
least three times the height of the bulb? Shallow plantings can sometimes
the bulbs to extreme heat.
If you attempted to dig the bulb and found
nothing, the bulb was either moved by varmints (and may pop up somewhere
unexpected) or has completely rotted in the ground. Think back to when you
planted the bulb. If it was solid and healthy at the time of planting, there
be issues with your soil, such as soil-borne fungus. Ask your local garden
center about treating your soil before replanting any new bulbs! If you are
unsatisfied with the state in which the bulbs arrived at your doorstep,
email us at Info@southernbulbs.com
so we can take care of you.
your prices 'per bulb?'
No. The quantity of bulbs in each
package varies by variety. However, our bulbs do cost more than most
imported varieties. Think of it as an investment. These
bulbs come back every year in greater numbers, are grown in Texas and have a
'rare and heirloom' status. Sure, you'll pay a little more at first, but for
price of one 'double venti skinny mocha latte,' you'll have bulbs that may
outlast your house. In fact, most of our bulbs were found around the
foundations of old homesites.
have a catalog?
We realize that some of our customers are more
comfortable ordering bulbs from a physical, printed catalog. However, we
decided to only offer our bulbs online for three reasons: 1) We have limited
stock. By selling online, we can track sales "real time" so that we do not
commit" our limited inventory. We will never ship substitutes to our
2) Let's be honest: printing catalogs is expensive! We'd rather spend money
where it counts: finding new bulbs for you, taking care of them and
you with the support you need. 3) More and more people are becoming
buying online. If you are not one of those people, we totally understand!
us and we'll take your order over the phone! Please be patient, however, as
are often out of the office hunting for bulbs or in our barn shipping
you give me some landscaping ideas?
happy to offer the following tips for landscaping with bulbs:
foremost, each gardener must answer the question, "what am I trying to
accomplish in the landscape?" Are you looking for a particular color,
depth, etc? Bulbs can be used for great mass displays and drifts. However,
Clint (owner of a landscape design firm in Dallas) advises "it is important
offer little specialties in collections for the more careful, up- close
1) To extend the color life of drifts and
other mass plantings, consider planting several varieties together
that bloom a little later and a little earlier than each other.
2) Common landscape plants like Mondo Grass
Liriope sp. can be spruced up by the use of fall or spring blooming
bulbs. Properly selected bulbs will offer other foliage choices
the winter and early spring months, and at the same time add a splash of
(examples: Oxblood, Spider lily, Snowflake, Campernelle) Also,
bulbs, such as the Pink Rain lily, blend well with liriope while most other
bulbs can be planted behind landscaping to mask fading foliage in the late
3) When using bulbs in mass,
is key in accomplishing powerful displays for your yard. Do want a
piece of architecture accentuated? Then have two mass displays that almost
"point" to the piece. Or perhaps you would like to see color when you look
of your kitchen in the morning? Plan the display by looking out the
kitchen window while shouting instructions to your spouse/neighbor/children,
they mark where the bulbs are to be planted! As a good rule of
you can estimate the quantity needed for large, dense displays
in the following manner: Grape hyacinths, 10-15 per sqft; Grand
Double Romans, Italicus, Oxbloods and Spiders, 3-5 sqft; all other 'medium
Southern Bulbs, 8-10 sqft. Bulbs can be planted less densely for a gradual
effect over the years, as the bulbs begin to clump up and
always, if you have any questions email Info@southern bulbs.com for a
within 48 hours. We love to help!
many bulbs should I plant per square foot?
As a rule of thumb,
will want to give all of our bulbs at least 1-2 bulb widths spacing between
planting. However, a popular technique that we completely endorse is opening up a hole in the ground and placing three to five bulbs in it for an immediate natural look when they bloom. After those bulbs root and propagate over a couple of years, you may dig up the clump and separate as desired. For most of our bulbs, 12-15 bulbs per
foot will offer dense color. For larger bulbs, such as Amaryllis, Crinums,
Oxblood lily, Grand Primo and Double Roman, bulbs may be planted at much
numbers (3-5 per sqft) for a dramatic effect. See 'Landscaping' above for
my bulbs different sizes?
We harvest and select all of our bulbs
hand. The 'sizing standard' by which we select bulbs are the 'biggest,
blooming-size bulbs we have available.' We sometimes throw in some giant
with orders when we have them available -- so count yourself lucky if you
one or two huge bulbs with a few 'regular' size bulbs. Also, some of our
may have very small bulblets attached to them. These bulbs will eventually
become larger bulbs and were not counted in your order total.
There is nothing wrong with buying imported
They often offer beautiful blooms for your garden! However, it is important
understand that they should be viewed as annuals. They will usually last for
or two years. However, when you buy Southern Bulbs, you are buying a bulb
has survived naturally in the South for 50-100 years. They will come back
year in greater numbers and actually thrive in the heat while imported bulbs
will not... as in most purchasing decisions, you must decide what you need.
Annuals are an important part of every garden. Our bulbs, however, will be a
permanent part of your garden.
need to refrigerate (trick) my bulbs?
No! Please do not put them
your fridge. Our bulbs do not need to be tricked or chilled. In fact, if we
shipped them to you, go ahead and plant them according to our included
instructions. Remember, they are from the South and like to be in the
a bulb that is sold out -- how do I get it?
Our bulbs are in
quantities and sell fast! Here are two options for getting your hands on the
most rare bulbs: 1) Check with a garden center close
your area that carries our bulbs 2) Sign up for our newsletter below for
on when the bulbs are made available for next year:
|Join The Southern Bulbs Mailing List|
New Product Updates! Planting Reminders!
is my order?
We ship all bulbs at the proper time for planting.
the fall, bulbs start shipping in September. For the spring, shipping begins
late March. If you have placed an order after those dates and have not
your bulbs within two weeks, please email us at Info@southernbulbs.com with your
number, confirmation number or last name so we can find the status of your
order. Email is the best way to reach us, as we are often hunting for bulbs,
shipping packages in our barn or traveling to garden centers.