Gardening Guide  »   Types of Bulbs

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Types of Bulbs

Many of the plants that we refer to as ‘bulbs’ are not truly bulbs. We link a group of flowers, who are capable of storing food in underground organs and withstanding adverse conditions, as bulbs.  And because all ‘bulbs’ have their own food storage, they are easy to grow.

TRUE

TRUE

CORM

CORM

TUBER

TUBER

TUBEROUS ROOT

TUBEROUS ROOT

RHIZOME

RHIZOME

TRUE BULBS have the characteristic rounded shape. Each bulb is composed of layers of protective skin; food storage tissue; the shoot, that consists of the flowers and leaves; and the basal plate, to which food storage tissue, shoots and roots are attached.

Fall Planted Examples: Allium, Amaryllis, Daffodil, Dutch Iris, Fritillaria, Hyacinths, Muscari, Oxalis, Puschkinia, Scilla, Tulip

Spring Planted Example: Lily

 

CORMS are also rounded, but smaller and flattened. Also, the basal plate is larger and food storage tissue is smaller. All corms reproduce by annual replacement, so new corms replace old corms every year. They are composed of the skin , the basal plate, which in the corm contains the a food storage reserve, the buds and the roots that grow from the basal plate.

Fall Planted Example: Crocus

Spring Planted Examples: Gladioli, Sparaxis


TUBERS are distinguished from bulbs and corms by the absence of a skin. Gnarled in appearance, tubers are composed of enlarged stem tissue and can be cylindrical and flattened or irregular in shape. Blooms develop from eyes, or buds, which grow from the upper area.

Fall Planted Example: Anemone

Spring Planted Examples: Caladium, Cyclamen


TUBEROUS ROOTS are fleshy roots that can be either single or branched. Buds develop on the  old stem-base.

Spring Planted Examples: Begonias, Dahlia, Ranunculus


RHIZOMES have no skin. They are underground stems, but unlike tubers, are long and oval.

Spring Planted Examples: Bearded Iris, Callas, Lily of the Valley