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How to pick the best bulbs.

Gladioli bulbs
Gladioli bulbs
Wikimedia commons

Fall is the time to plant spring and summer blooming bulbs and, despite the warm weather here in Fresno, fall is just around the corner. Bulbs don’tt look like much, but they contain the energy for a season of flowers and foliage.

Now is the time to look through catalogs and decide what kind of bulbs you’d like to plant. Bulbs can be purchased many places such as on-line, through catalogs, your local garden store or even the grocery store. Make sure you buy from a reputable source to get the highest quality bulb. Buying locally will assure that you can determine the health of the bulb first hand, but garden catalogs both on-line and in print have a greater variety of bulbs.


Bulbs should be heavy for their size and firm. Make sure there are no soft spots as this indicates rot. A paper thin layer covers the bulb, similar to an onion skin—which is just another type of bulb. This skin should be intact and there should be no mold or mildew present.


Your bulbs may have small shoots emerging from the pointed end. This means the bulb is no longer dormant. As long as the growth isn’t too long, it shouldn’t affect the flowers. If your bulb has a small bulblet(s) to a side, consider it a bonus. Your bulb has already started to reproduce!


It’s best to plant bulbs as soon as possible after purchase but if it’s necessary to store them for awhile, keep them in a dry, cool location until you’re ready to plant.