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Beginner Flowers: Bulbs vs. seeds

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Forum: Beginner FlowersReplies: 6, Views: 41
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Gainesville, GA
(Zone 8a)

April 17, 2013
1:46 PM

Post #9487538

I may be asking a real dumb question but I would like to know the difference between flowers started by bulbs and those started from seed. Are the bulb plants hardier or what? Take Gaillardia Goblins for example...I had some that started from a bulb and they did great until choked out by my butterfly bush but I see they also come in seeds. One obvious difference is the price when ordering but can someone help me with understanding so I can know what would be best in my yard? Thank you ahead of time for your help.
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

April 17, 2013
1:56 PM

Post #9487546

By "bulb", you seem to be referring to root divisions from established plants. (Bulbs are actually only found on particular groups of plants - tulips, daffodils, lilies, alliums, etc.)
There is no particular difference, other than that plants grown in place from seed may adapt to conditions better, so may give the impression of greater hardiness or better performance over time. However, seeds from certain plants can be much more difficult or involved to germinate than beginners often imagine.
The advantage to root divisions is getting a more advanced plant, whereas seed-grown perennials typically aren't even matrue enough to bloom until the second year, and take several years to achieve full size.
Another advantage of root divisions is that it is a clone of the original plant, and will therefore be the same. Seeds, by contrast, introduce genetic diversity, and particular cultivars cannot be expected to come "true" from seed (that is, the particular characteristics of that cultivar may not be present in any or all of the plants grown from seed).


central, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 17, 2013
2:16 PM

Post #9487577

Gaillardia do not come from a bulb they are grown by seeds. Do you mean to say that you planted one that was already in a container with roots?
I can't even get them to grow here I am amazed that they would choke out an invasive shrub like a butterfly bush, can't even imagine how that would be possible

Certain plants are hardier than others ie hardy hibiscus compared to a tropical hibiscus or bulbs like Tulips would survive a winter in the north but Caladiums can't
or you have annuals that would survive winter in the south but not the north

April 17, 2013
9:36 PM

Post #9488070

Most plants that come from seeds are either annuals or biennials. Annuals grow directly from seeds and grow, bloom and die in the course of one season. They also produce their own seeds. Many lovely flowers fall into this category, including most wildflowers, zinnias, marigolds, asters, daisies and petunias.

Other plants with seeds are edible, such as tomatoes, squash, cucumber, celery, berries, watermelon and cantaloupe. Packets of seeds for these vegetables can be found in the spring in grocery stores, home centers or from seed catalogs. Flower seeds are available as well.

Plants from bulbs are a whole other proposition. Probably the most famous plants growing from bulbs are tulips. However, daffodils, hyacinth, gladiolus and even garlic also spring from bulbs. Gardeners plant bulbs in the fall of the year and they remain dormant in the soil until spring. When the weather warms up, the bulbs send up green leaves, and eventually flower. The flowers remain for a couple of weeks or so, then they die back, and the leaves follow. These plants then lie dormant until the next spring, when they bloom again.

The main advantage with plant bulbs is that they can be moved to different places in the garden, depending on the gardenerís preferences. All the gardener has to do is to dig the bulbs up in the fall and replant them in the desired location. Plant bulbs are also available anywhere seeds and other plants are sold.
Gainesville, GA
(Zone 8a)

April 18, 2013
6:57 AM

Post #9488364

Thank you all so much, this makes a lot of sense now! So what I actually got was roots not bulbs. Oh, and it was the butterfly bush that choked out the gaillardia goblin, it grew over the plant and it didn't get enough sun. I planted them too close together. Gotta get another one now, it was beautiful! That is also encouraging because I will make better use of my greenhouse next spring and maybe some cold frames and wintersowing. Have lots of room for plants but not lots of money. Thank you again for your input, you guys are the greatest and this is why I love Dave's Garden!


central, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 18, 2013
7:38 AM

Post #9488418

Oh yeah can totally see the butterfly bush taking over!!!

I love DG too!!!!
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

April 20, 2013
3:02 PM

Post #9491003

nelsoncastro wrote:Most plants that come from seeds are either annuals or biennials.

Well, it's entirely up to the skill and knowledge of the grower as to what plants he/she chooses to grow from seed, as opposed to buying plants. Less common species (whether they are perennial, monocarpic, biennial, annual or woody species) and those that relate to more specialized interests can often only be acquired by growing them from seed.

nelsoncastro wrote:The main advantage with plant bulbs is that they can be moved to different places in the garden...

Most plants in the garden can be dug up and moved elsewhere in the garden... it's not a particular characteristic that's unique to bulbs.

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Other Beginner Flowers Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Welcome to the Beginner Flowers forum! dave 147 Feb 14, 2013 3:15 AM
snapdragon picture gessiegail 39 Jan 1, 2012 1:04 PM
show us beginners your blooms gessiegail 324 Jan 8, 2012 6:20 AM
Favorite annuals from your 2006 garden! Trish 81 Mar 7, 2007 2:02 PM
Heat Mats Ironsides 6 Nov 27, 2007 1:31 AM

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