NORTH FLORIDA — Easter is on Sunday, and for many people, Easter symbolizes renewed life. And so, the white flowers of the Easter lily signify the new life of spring.
Easter lily grows from a true bulb. A number of plants that people commonly refer to as bulbs aren’t actually bulbs—they’re corms, rhizomes, or tubers.
Easter lily is just one of many ornamental plants that grow from these underground bulbs or bulb-like structures that can be enjoyed in our North Florida landscapes. However, not all bulb-type plants can be successfully grown in Florida.
For example, tulip bulbs require consistently cold winters, which Florida winters don’t provide, in order to grow and produce flowers. Also, our spring temperatures become too warm too quickly, resulting in tulip foliage dying back prematurely.
As a result, the bulbs become small, weak, and flower poorly, if at all, the following year.
The few people who grow tulips in Florida either buy pre-chilled bulbs or chill them in the refrigerator for six to eight weeks prior to fall planting, enjoy their blooms in spring, and then discard them. Tulips are best grown as annuals in the Deep South.
There are a surprising number of bulb-type plants that do well here in our landscapes. Take time to learn which ones grow well here. Amaryllis, for example, consistently comes back year after year with its beautiful flowers. Flower color varies from white to salmon to deep red, depending on the variety planted.
Agapanthus, which grows from rhizomes, is another great choice, with its summer blue or white flowers held high on 12-inch-tall stalks.
Caladiums from tubers produce colorful foliage all summer, crinum lilies from bulbs produce white to deep rose-colored flowers spring through summer, and lycoris suddenly makes an appearance in late summer and fall with their red flowers growing from small bulbs.
These are just a few choices that can be grown here.
To learn more, register to attend our next lecture series titled Rhizomes, Tubers, and Corms, Oh My! Kathy Foster, UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteer in Okaloosa County, will provide information on bulbs that can be grown successfully in Northwest Florida. Foster will explain that it requires planting the right types and then becoming familiar with the optimum growing conditions for our area.
This free presentation begins at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 19, and will be held at the Extension Annex at 1976 Lewis Turner Boulevard in Fort Walton Beach.
Seating is limited. You’ll need to register on Eventbrite.
Call the Extension Office at (850) 689-5850 for more details.
Larry Williams is the Extension horticulture agent with the Okaloosa County Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida. Contact Larry at 689-5850 or email email@example.com.