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Jim's 5 Favorite Bulbs

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Jim's 5 Favorite Bulbs

Recently, Easy to Grow Bulbs’ Jim Threadgill said that if he lived in Iowa, he’d plant a bunch of Tulips and Peonies. But he doesn’t live in Iowa; he lives in southern California. We can all dream, right? But that doesn’t mean this owner of a bulb company doesn’t still have his favorites! Here are Jim’s top 5 favorite bulbs, and why he likes them. (But we want to know—what are your favorites?)

  1. Narcissus: And specifically, Division 8 Paperwhites. If you’ve never heard of Division 8, this refers to the classification by the American Daffodil Society that Paperwhites come from Division 8 Tazetta Daffodils. These bulbs produce up to 20 blossoms per stem and prefer slightly warmer climates. No wonder Jim loves them. (Oh, also, if you’re looking for specific varieties, Jim recommends Ice Follies, Avalanche, and Golden Dawn.

  2. Oriental Lilies: These exotic bulbs offer huge flowers and are dependable bloomers, Jim says. He particularly loves their fragrance, too, and the fact that they make amazing cut flowers for bouquets and arrangements. Try Sorbonne, Gold Band, or Stargazer—and if you can’t choose, just go for the Oriental Lily Mix!

  3. Amaryllis: They're popular for holiday color, but Amaryllis are not just for Christmastime. When planted outside in warmer zones (8 and higher), they naturalize well, growing bigger and better, and giving you a lot of bang for the buck. Plus, they’re just so darn pretty! Grow them inside as houseplants or out in your garden— we love a good win-win. ETGB Amaryllis faves include Ferrari Red, Double Dream, and Clown.

  4. Bearded Iris: Who doesn’t love Bearded Iris? These bulbs grow well nationwide, are shockingly low maintenance, and divide very easily every few years. Oh, and did we mention they rebloom in the fall? They’re traditional garden favorites for a reason, you know. We recommend My Friend Jonathan, Jurassic Park, and Persian Berry.

  5. Ranunculus: Luscious colors and ruffly petals; what’s not to love about ranunculus? While ranunculus can be tricky to grow in Mediterranean climates, Jim says they have an 80-day crop cycle. So, in the spring, back up 80 days from when temps in your area get to 70 degrees and start them indoors. And while choosing favorite ranunculus varieties is a bit of a Sophie’s Choice, we’re particularly fond of the Pastel Collection, Rainbow Mix, and the Burning Embers Collection.

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  • Katie Elzer-Peters