Most of these bulbs should be planted in the fall so they can go through the winter at the right temperature and be triggered to grow and flower in spring. Plant them too late and they may not bloom.

The post that discusses this more fully is called Plant Bulbs in Fall – for Spring Delight

Note – Yes, some of these “bulbs” aren’t really – they are corms, or tubers, or even rhizomes – but you don’t need to know what tissue type they are to plant them correctly and enjoy them. For ease of discussion, I call them all bulbs on this list.

Wild type tulips like these ‘Lady Jane’ tulips will survive better here than Dutch type tulips.

Sunlight In the Land of El Sol

Remember – Not all sun is created equal. In the desert Southwest (the Land of El Sol!), our sun can heat and dry the soils in excess of what is appropriate for many bulbs. This is one of the cases where you should ignore the label if you want your bulbs to reappear every year. Listen to my voice of years of experience. I have already killed more than enough bulbs to help you avoid the problem.

Some plants are listed on both lists, this means they will stand about a half day of sun.

Bulbs for Full Shade

Full shade to filtered light is needed for the following bulbs to grow well in our region. All prefer less than part sun in Low and Middle Desert growing conditions. Especially avoid baking afternoon summer sun.

agapanthus, caladium, calla, canna, crinum, crocus, cyclamen, dahlia, day lily, Easter lily, freesia, gladiolus, lycoris, ornithogalum, oxalis, sparaxis, spring starflower (Ipheion), tigridia, and tuberous begonia.

Tigridia – what is not to love about these beauties?! But they come from the Sky Islands and need cooler soils than ours in summer.

Bulbs for Part Sun to Full Sun

While you can plant these in full sun – they will be more successful if you place them where they get shade for at least part of the day in the summer months.
In this category are a number of our Southwest natives – marked by an * asterisk.

NEVER collect our native bulbs out of the wild. A number of our bulbs are threatened or even endangered. Instead, there are a number of reputable bulb dealers that have been growing these bulbs from seed and nurturing them for years. I will post that list soon.

*Ajo lily, allium, amaryllis, anemone, apios, *blue dicks, canna, crocus, gladiolus, iris (all kinds), *mariposa lily, narcissus, oxalis, * Pima lily, ranunculus, society garlic, squill, Turkish tulip, watsonia, zephranthes.

A field of anenomes near the coast in Israel. This climate is more like San Diego and not as baking as the inland Southwest. Here some summer shade will help them survive.

© Article copyright Dr. Jacqueline A. Soule. All rights reserved. You may NOT copy or distribute this list in any fashion. If you wish, I will speak to your group and offer this list to that limited audience as part of the presentation. No stealing photos.