By Anne Baley
Northern gardeners are used to planting tulip, hyacinth and crocus bulbs in the fall, then expecting them to sprout and bloom the next spring. The problem with these bulbs is that they require a certain length of time in a cold environment in order to bloom. Southern gardeners without months of freezing weather require warm climate flower bulbs – bulbs that grow well in hot climates. Not every bulb thrives in the north, so you can still enjoy perennials that bloom year after year in the warmest part of the country.
Flowering Bulbs in Warm Regions
Many common flowering bulbs originated in warmer regions of the world, and don’t require colder weather in order to bloom. These tropical types of flower bulbs for hot climates thrive with month after month of warm weather, as long as they are planted in good soil and watered frequently.
When you are planting bulbs in southern regions, begin with a bed of rich, well-drained soil. If your soil is clay or has a problem with drainage, build a raised bed with a mixture of soil and compost and use it for the heat loving bulbs.
The second key to growing flowering bulbs in warm regions is in choosing the right kind of bulb to grow.
Bulbs That Grow Well in Hot Climates
Almost any lily bulb will do well here, from the common daylily to the more exotic spider lily and African lily plants. Bulbs with larger and showier blooms, or even attractive foliage, are natural to these regions. Try raising caladiums, dinner plate dahlias or the enormous elephant ears.
If you still miss your old tulips and crocus flowers, you can enjoy them in the warmer weather in the south, but you’ll have to treat them as an annual or dig them up at the end of the season to provide a suitable cold treatment.
Place the bulbs in paper bags, storing the bulbs in the crisper drawer in your refrigerator. Remove any ripening fruit from the fridge, as these give off ethylene gases that kill off flower bulbs. Leave the bulbs in the drawer for three to four months, then move them directly into a bed of well-drained soil. Bury them about 6 inches deep and keep the bed well-watered. You’ll see sprouts in a matter of weeks and blooms in about a month.