Phillip Williams
Phillip Williams
  • Hometalker
  • Augusta, GA
Asked on Aug 8, 2013

Spring bulb varieties specifically for the sunny South

Phillip WilliamsPegMargherite Williams
+14

Answered

There are a large number of bulb dealers selling beautiful bulbs, but gardeners in the South have learned that most of these will not survive and bloom more than a year or two. Does anyone know of a dealer selling bulb varieties specifically suited to our hot humid climate? Thanks!
spring bulb varieties specifically for the sunny south, gardening
11 answers
  • Vicki
    on Aug 8, 2013

    really, I do have them coming back every year. I live metro Atlanta area. I do not remmy where I get those. I have those many years to enjoy every year here.

  • Phillip Williams
    on Aug 9, 2013

    Vicki, there are a goodly number of bulbs which have become adapted to the heat and humidity of the South and they do very well, but they are hard to find unless you find some locally. The vast majority of tulips, hyacinth, daffodils, crocus, etc. cannot stand the heat and fail rebuild the bulb for the following year and so they fail after just a couple of seasons.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Aug 9, 2013

    Philip, have you tried the Southern Bulb Company (http://www.southernbulbs.com/)? It was founded by "bulb hunter" Chris Wiesinger , who has made a cause of finding heirloom Southern bulbs.

  • Phillip Williams
    on Aug 9, 2013

    Thanks Douglas, I'll check that out.

  • Margherite Williams
    on Aug 9, 2013

    My favorite supplier (I live in Lower Alabama) is Northern, but they accurately label their bulbs' growing zones. I'll try anything of theirs labeled 8b or higher, and have done well with 8a bulbs planted in light shade. They also label field origin; and those grown in Louisiana, Texas, or Alabama seem to thrive in our humidity, much better than California-grown bulbs. http://www.oldhousegardens.com/

  • Peg
    on Aug 9, 2013

    Phillip, what type of lovely lily is this?

  • Phillip Williams
    on Aug 9, 2013

    Hi Peg, this is a Lycoris radiata, aka Surprise Lily, Spider Lily or in some places Naked Ladies. They bloom in the Fall after all the foliage is gone, hence the last common name. They originated in China and came to the US after the 1850's. They are not nearly as common as they were decades ago. I find them to be a "set and forget" type of plant although you probably need to thin them out every 3-5 years to insure continued blooming. There are other species / varieties that are yellow, pink and mixtures.

    • Marlene
      on Aug 11, 2013

      @Phillip Williams I have some of these spider lilies, and I was told recently that they are getting hard to find. Is this true, do you know? I need to thin mine out as they have multiplied quite a bit. Actually, I don't remember ever planting any bulbs, but I sure do have a lot now.:))

  • Phillip Williams
    on Aug 9, 2013

    Thanks a million, Margherite! Do you have any personal recommendations for Daffodils

  • Phillip Williams
    on Aug 11, 2013

    I'll give them a try. Thanks!

  • Phillip Williams
    on Aug 11, 2013

    Marlene, based on their frequency in catalogs and the websites of plant dealers, I would say that they are very uncommon. Until a few years ago, I had never seen them except occasionally in old run down urban neighborhoods. Popularity comes and goes over time... The Crinum Lily is another great example. Crinum lilies were as common as grass 50 years ago, but few today know what they are. Like most bulbs Lycoris make great additions to a bed where you need a little color at a specific time. They do have nice foliage and once they bloom, they disappear completely until the foliage appears again in the Spring. I am trying to find a reasonably priced source for the yellow Lycoris aureus and have found only one or two places that even have them...

  • Phillip Williams
    on Jul 31, 2014

    Speaking of such things; I just got back from a two hour "tour" through a very blighted and decayed urban neighborhood looking for plants.Old overgrown lots abound. The area was originally developed in the 1850's so there are a number of very old plants to be found if one has the temerity to try. I uncovered 4 very large crinum lilies covered by vines and debris. They have been liberated and placed in a sunny raised bed in my back yard. Can't wait to see what the blooms look like.

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