With the unseasonably warm weather we have been having so far this year, gardeners are anxious to get their hands dirty. It’s still about 2 months until the average last frost date in Edmonton, but in the meantime, spring bulbs are a great way to get an early start on the season - many can be started indoors now, which will actually result in an earlier bloom time. We have an excellent selection available, with something for every kind of gardener. See below for some of our top spring bulbs picks for 2016, and some tips on how to get them growing.
These old-fashioned favorites are tender perennials that grow from a tuberous rootstock, and must be lifted in the fall and stored indoors, or grown in containers that are moved in for the winter. There are several different types, but all are easy and well worth growing. Dahlias can be started indoors in late March to early April for an earlier bloom time, or planted directly outdoors in May. When growing indoors, place in a west or south window (direct sun) and provide supplemental artificial lighting if necessary.
- City of Alkmaar – dwarf cactus type. Large flowers in sunset tones, darkening to a burnt apricot color towards the outside. The blooms have a unique cactus-like appearance. Ht. 70cm/28”.
- Karma Choc – a dramatic selection with deep velvety-red flowers, almost black towards the center. Foliage is also very dark-toned. Nice full blooms. Ht. 70cm/28”
- Wine Eyed Jill – fully formed blooms in a soft peach color with a deep wine-purple center. Ht. 1m/39”
- Marble Ball – totally unique, fully-formed flowers are white, splashed boldly with blueberry-purple. Deep green foliage. Ht. 70cm/28”
- Kenora Macob – dinnerplate type. Incredible 25cm/10” fringed flowers in an intense deep burgundy-purple color. Ht. 1.2m/4’
- Manhattan Island – dinnerplate type. Giant 25cm/10” scarlet-red flowers with yellow centers. Ht. 1m/39”
Ever popular as a late summer/fall cutflower, it is so easy to grow your own gladioli! The corms can be started indoors in late March to early April, or planted directly in the garden in early May. Plant corms 10cm/4” deep. When starting indoors, place in a west or south window (direct sun) and provide supplemental artificial light if necessary.
- Chocolate – novelty type. Deep reddish-purple flowers with a velvety, brownish hue, giving almost the effect of chocolate. Ht. 1m/39”
- Glamini Series – dwarf selections particularly suitable for containers, reaching a height of under 60cm/2’. Several different varieties: Christopher (deep magenta/light pink bicolor), Stereo (red/yellow bicolor), Thomas (deep burgundy with yellow-tinged center), Tom (scarlet red), and Zoe (peach/yellow bicolor)
- Halloween – super novelty type. Yellow flowers with orange-red edges are reminiscent of pumpkins. Ht. 1m/39”
- Kiev – parrot type. Ruffled, chartreuse-green flowers with pink highlights; completely unique. Ht. 1m/39”
A classic garden perennial and for good reason, there are so many different types and varieties of lilies to choose from. In our spring bulbs section you can expect to find an expanded selection of OT (Orienpet, also called “tree” lilies) bulbs. These hybrids, combining Oriental and trumpet lilies together, are an improvement over both parents and will give you the flower size and fragrance of an Oriental lily with increased winter hardiness. Lilies can be started indoors in late March/early April or planted directly outdoors in early May. Plant bulbs 3x deeper than height of the bulb.
- Kaveri – OT type. Large, fragrant flowers in sunset tones, with a reddish-orange center and yellow edges. Ht. 1.2m/4’
- Scheherazade – OT type. Recurved, large, fragrant flowers; deep red with yellow edges. Ht. 1.2m/4’ (at least)
- Tabledance – OT type. Outfacing, fragrant, large, solid deep pink flowers. Ht. 1.2m/4’
- Apricot Fudge – dwarf Asiatic type. Totally unique, cup-shaped flowers in a soft brownish-apricot color. Ht. 45cm/18”
- Easy Dance – Asiatic type. Deep burgundy flowers with contrasting splashes of yellow on the center and ends of the tepals. Sterile; does not produce pollen. Ht. 75cm/30”
- Night Flyer – Asiatic hybrid. Reflexed, solid deep maroon-black flowers. Ht. 1.2m/4’
- Anemone coronaria ‘Lord Lieutenant’ (Blue Poppy Anemone) – semi-double flowers in a stunning blue color, in spring to early summer. This tender variety must be lifted in fall and stored indoors over winter. Soak corms for 24 hours before planting; best started indoors in early April. Plant in sun to part shade outdoors after danger of frost has passed. Ht. 30cm/1’
- Arisaema speciosum (Cobra Lily) – this Indian relative of Jack-in-the-pulpit is not hardy in our area, but can easily be grown in containers and stored dry indoors over winter. The exotic flowers have a hooded, deep carnal-red spathe with lighter pink stripes and a long, whip-like spadix. Snakeskin patterned stems give rise to large, tropical-looking leaves; a dramatic addition to a mixed container for shade. Ht. 75cm/30”
- Ismene (Peruvian Daffodil) – these subtropical to tropical Amaryllis relatives must also be lifted in fall and stored dry indoors overwinter, and make excellent container plants. The flowers resemble daffodils but have long, curled petals. ‘Advance’ has white flowers while ‘Sulphur Queen’ has yellow. Ht. 90cm/3’
- Eucomis comosa (Pineapple Lily) – use these tropical bulbs as a feature plant in a container and bring indoors over winter. The strap-shaped leaves and spikes of light pink flowers resemble pineapple plants. Ht. 60cm/2’
- Sauromatum venosum (Voodoo Lily) – this aroid is a relative of the titam arum (Amorphophallus titanum). In early spring it will produce a large, fetid flower (really an inflorescence) in deep flesh tones that is designed to attract carrion flies for pollination. This curious bloom only lasts for a day or two. It is the large, stately, palm-like leaf that follows that makes this plant worthwhile as a centerpiece in a mixed container. Best in partial shade; store dry indoors over winter. Ht. 1.2m/4’