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Bulbs - Bulbs 1
See how much you know about bulbs in this quiz.

Bulbs - Bulbs 1

Scientists differentiate between 'bulbs', 'corms', 'tubers' and 'rhizomes' but to most gardeners they are all the same thing and they serve the same purpose – they are planted when they are dormant and magically spring into life.

It may not be necessary to know whether you are planting a bulb or just something similar but it certainly helps to know when to plant it. Planting a summer-flowering, tender bulb in the autumn is a recipe for disaster as is planting a spring flowering bulb in March. These quizzes will help point you in the right direction.

Don't forget to click on any of the pictures to expand them and take a closer look.

This colourful species of zantedeschia is usually known as what?
Photograph courtesy of Beautifulcataya
Belladonna lily
Calla lily
Peruvian lily
Lily of the valley
  • Zantedeschia are rhizomes.
  • Very closely related to the arum Lily with which it is often confused.
  • Arums are almost always white - unlike the more colourful plant seen in the picture.
  • The rhizomes need to be lifted each autumn and stored over winter in a cool frost-free place such as a garage or garden shed.
  • Plant in spring after the danger of frost has passed.
Very closely related to the arum lily. Take care: calla lilies are NOT hardy in the UK whilst arum lilies are. Arum lilies can be left outside during the winter but calla lilies MUST be lifted and brought inside
What is the name of this celebrated species of lily?
Photograph courtesy of UpstateNYer
L. auratum
L. bulbiferum
L. longiflorum
L. speciosum
  • Sometimes known as the Easter lily.
  • Cherished by flower-arrangers.
  • The anthers should be removed from the flowers to prevent staining of the pure white flowers and (indoors) your furniture.
  • The large bulbs should be planted about 15cm deep in the spring.
  • In autumn leave the bulbs in the ground but cover with a few inches of straw to prevent frost damage.
Ranunculas grow best in what conditions?
Photograph courtesy of Hello-julie
Cool and dry
Cool and moist
Hot and dry
Hot and moist
  • The intensely coloured flowers with many layers of petals are often thought to resemble roses.
  • Plant the bulbs in the autumn at a depth of about 5cm.
  • To give the best effect it is usual to plant a number of bulbs fairly close together. Clustered together in this way in a patio tub makes for a fine display.
  • After flowering the foliage should be allowed to die down naturally.
  • Leave in the soil and hope for flowers again the next year!
This stunning display of Alliums was seen at a gardening show in 2011. What type of vegetable are the plants closely related to?
Photograph courtesy of Andy Mabbett
  • Available in a range of blues, pinks, purples, yellows and whites.
  • Can be taken from the garden and used as cut flowers although the 'scent' is not to everyone's taste!
  • Flower heads can be dried and used in winter floral decorations.
  • Plant the bulbs in the autumn.
  • The foliage is not as attractive as the flower so it is a good idea to plant Alliums surrounded by lower-growing plants that will hide or disguise the foliage.
Ixias are often known as what?
Photograph courtesy of
Corn Aster
Corn Lily
Corn Marigold
Corn Poppy
  • Their long, sword-like leaves are an aid to recognition.
  • Plants with many different flower colours are available to buy as corms.
  • Plant in spring - they are NOT winter hardy in the UK.
  • Can be grown in pots and brought inside during the winter.
  • Alternatively the bed where they are growing can be covered with straw to ensure they are protected from frost.
What is the flowering season for Chinodoxa?
Photograph courtesy of
  • Plants grow only about 15cm high.
  • Sparkling flowers that are most often blue but can be purple, pink or white.
  • Good plants for the very front of a mixed planting and also an ideal rockery plant.
  • Easy to grow and trouble-free in most soil types.
  • Completely hardy and happy to be left alone for many years.
They flower early in the year and are often known as 'glory of the snow'
What is the common name of Eranthis hyemalis?
Photograph courtesy of Dandelion And Burdock
Winter Aconite
Winter Iris
Winter Jasmine
Winter Oxalis
  • The first plant to come into flower in many gardens and regarded as a herald of spring and better weather!
  • Grows only about 10cm tall but a mass together creates a stunning effect.
  • The ideal plant to grow beneath deciduous trees where it is difficult to grow other plants.
  • Once planted they can be left untouched for countless years allowing the plants to self-seed and expand their area.
On which continent are there no indigenous crocus species?
Photograph courtesy of Polkadotsoph
  • Almost all gardeners refer to 'crocus bulbs' but to be scientifically correct we should refer to them as corms.
  • There are about 80 species in the wild and hundreds, if not thousands, of garden cultivars.
  • Loved by gardeners because of their brilliant colours - much more varied than either aconites or snowdrops.
  • Plant in the autumn.
  • Choose an open, sunny position.
  • Can be left undisturbed for several years.
Digging snowdrops from a wild wood for re-planting in your own garden is what?
Photograph courtesy of AnemoneProjectors
Often permissible
Seldom permissible
  • Snowdrops are scientifically known as Galanthus.
  • The plant is so well-loved that a number of 'snowdrop gardens' have been created that are open to the public from February onwards each year.
  • They prefer light soil and do well beneath most trees.
  • Left undisturbed in a situation where they are happy, a single snowdrop bulb can multiply to many hundreds within ten years.
It is an offence to remove any plant from the wild without the permission of the landowner. Increasingly police are prosecuting offenders
Fritillarias have a scent that is sometimes described as what?
Photograph courtesy of DHochmayr
  • There are over 100 different species of Fritillaria - all belonging to the same family as lilies.
  • Typically they have bell shaped flowers that point downwards.
  • Most flower in the spring from bulbs planted the previous autumn.
  • Needs a well-drained site in full sun or partial shade.
  • Plants can remain in the ground for up to 5 years at which time they should be lifted, divided and replanted.
Some people find the smell particularly unpleasant and some even call it fetid


Author:  Colin King

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