Types of Flower Bulbs

Looking to grow beautiful bulbs? Well here's a little secret; even newbies can successfully grow bulbs successfully. So, learning about the different types of bulbs is certainly a good place to start. Gardening needs commitments and is definitely serious business. It will help if you were willing to get your hands dirty, literally. Once you have the right tools and equipment, all you'll have left is having to decide which type of flower bulbs you want to grow. With many options in the market, it may be confusing knowing which flower bulbs to get. But don't panic; to help you on your quest, learn about the different bulbs and choose according to your gardening needs.

Flower Bulbs FAQ's

What is a Bulb?

A bulb is any plant that has an underground storage structure and completes its entire life cycle in it. The biggest purpose of these storage structures is to store essential nutrient reserves. This ensures that the plants’ survival chances are high.

Do only flowering plants spring from bulbs?

You’ll find several types of plants sold under the general term flower bulb, and they’re all a little bit different. Not only flowering plants spring from bulbs and other storage structures. The most well-known, however, are the flowering types. That said, potatoes come from tubers, bamboo arises from rhizomes, and elephant ear plants have tuberous bulb-like structures.

What Are The Types of Flower Bulbs?

Bulbs can be differentiated into two main types: spring and summer.

Spring bulbs

Also called hardy bulbs, these bulbs are planted in fall, spend winter in the ground, and flower in spring, the reason for their name. Some of the more common spring bulbs are tulips, irises, daffodils, hyacinth, allium, and crocus.

Summer bulbs

These are also called tender bulbs, which are planted in spring and flower or leaf out in summer. Some will bloom later in summer or for a longer time. Gladiolus, lilies, caladiums, and elephant ears are common examples of summer bulbs. Summer bulbs aren't tolerant of cold temperatures and should only be planted after the ground warms up.

What are the main kinds of storage structure bulbs have?

Bulbs have five main storage structures, including true bulbs, corms, tubers, tuberous roots, and rhizomes. The different bulb types are more accurately called geophytes and encompass a wide range of plant types.

Types of bulbs storage

True Bulb

The true bulb is a layered structure with a plant shoot in the core. Common true bulbs include daffodils and tulips.

There are two types of true bulbs:

Tunicate : These bulbs all have outer skin. This papery cover serves as protection of the interior scales where the food sources are stored. This type of bulb requires moisture before being planted.

Imbricate : Contrary to tunicate, these bulbs do not have a paper covering. A good example is lilies.


Corms may look like bulbs but are solid inside. Crocosmia grows from corms, spreading rapidly and easily, as do gladiolus, crocus, and freesia.


A tuber is a swollen stem with growth nodes or eyes. Daylilies and cyclamen are examples of tuber types of flower bulbs. Tubers are spread by planting a piece of the tuber with several healthy eyes. There are exotic and urbane types of flower bulbs that can elevate any garden.

Tuberous roots

There are also tuberous roots; these usually are thickened roots that hold food sources. An example of this is the tuberous begonia.


They are underground stems that also store plant food and can sprout new growth. These are easy to pull apart and start new plants. Common examples of plants that grow from rhizomes include canna lily and iris.

When to plant bulbs?

Zones 4 to 7

In colder climates, summer-flowering bulbs should be planted in mid to late spring. While spring-flowering bulbs can be planted as soon as the ground is cool, and it is at least 6 to 8 weeks before the ground freezes.

Zones 8 to 10

In warmer climates, summer-flowering bulbs can be planted early to mid-spring. And spring-flowering bulbs will need to be chilled in the refrigerator for 6 to 10 weeks until the ground cools enough for planting.

Where to plant bulbs?

The beauty of bulbs is that you can plant them just about anywhere you like. All you have to do is ensure that your bulbs have good drainage and sunlight.

Steps to plant bulbs:

  1. Decide the planting depth for the type of bulb you’re planting. A good general rule of thumb is to plant the bulb 2 to 3 times as deep as the bulb is tall.
  2. Prep the soil by loosening and mixing in organic material if needed for added nutrients or to improve drainage.
  3. Place the bulbs with the pointy end up and with the roots down.
  4. Cover with soil and a light layer of mulch. Newly planted bulbs should be watered well to get settled in.
  5. Protect bulbs from critters by staking down wire mesh. Some prefer to plant them in bulb baskets or wire cages.

Things to know before you plant bulbs

  • If you want a significant visual effect, then plant in clusters.
  • Plant a combination of early, mid-and late-season bloomers to extend the season.
  • Layer plant heights from front to back when planting varieties that will bloom at the same time.
  • Many bulbs are perfect for container planting, bring them into view when blooming and move out of the way when foliage is wilting and when dormant.
  • Bulbs can provide bright, vibrant colors; think about how those colors will blend with the rest of your garden.

Tips for choosing the best bulbs

  • Bulbs should not feel soft or spongy but firm to the touch
  • Choose bulbs that are healthy and don’t have any signs of disease.
  • At the time of purchase, bulbs should show little or no root growth or sprout, except Lilies.
  • Quality bulbs will be those that put on an impressive show.

Buying Bulbs

Asiatic Lilies Mix - Freshly Dug Perennial Lily Flower Bulbs (10 Pack of Bulbs)

Asiatic Lilies are freshly dug beautiful perennials! Your garden should not be without them. Prefers well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. 12-14 cm bulbs.

Types of Flower Bulbs: Asiatic Lilies Mix (10 Pack of Bulbs) - Freshly Dug Perennial Lily Flower Bulbs


  • 10 Fresh, Healthy Flower Bulbs
  • Large 12-14 CM Bulbs
  • Deer Resistant

Gladiolus Bulbs - Mixed Perennial Pastels (20 Pack)

Gladiolus (from Latin, the diminutive of gladius, a sword) is a genus of perennial bulbous flowering plants in the iris family. Glads actually do not grow from bulbs but the corm. The Gladiolus flower signifies remembrance. It also expresses infatuation, telling the receiver that they pierce the heart.

Types of Flower Bulbs: Gladiolus, Bulb (20 Pack) Pastel Mixed, Mixed Perennial Gladiolus Bulbs, Flowers


  • Classic Mixed Color Gladiolus, a must-have for every garden
  • Saturated with color, they practically glow
  • Easy to Plant and Grow
  • Large, robust bulbs that will bloom year after year

Tulip Bulbs - Mixed Varieties

Surprisingly mixed tulips will bring you rich and sturdy bold flowers. Tulips are long-day, sunny, and windproof. They prefer humid winters and cool, dry summers. It can grow normally above 46°F (8°C) and can usually withstand low temperatures of 7°F (-14°C).

Types of Flower Bulbs: Tulip Bulbs Mixed Tulips Varieties

Oxalis Triangularis (10 Bulbs)

The purple-leaf shamrock, Oxalis triangularis, is a low-growing foliage plant for the garden that also makes for an attractive indoor plant with rich, vibrant, purple leaves. Smart gardeners have gravitated to this beautiful foliage plant to add color indoors and outdoors for several decades.

Types of Flower Bulbs: Oxalis Triangularis 10 Bulbs