The Q&A Archives: Bulbless in Arizona

Question: Two years ago we moved to Arizona and I want to plant Gladiolas and some other blubs as well. We are in a dry very hot area and the soil medium is clay and very dense. Do I need to amend the soil and is there a special type of glad I need to purchase? What other types of bulbs do well in this hot climate and when do you plant them?

Answer: Amending the soil is an excellent idea! Plan to work 3-4 inches of organic material into the planting bed prior to planting. Gladiolas can survive and even naturalize if conditions are to their liking. Try planting in morning sun with protection from hot afternoon sunshine. Typical spring bloomers, such as daffodils and crocus need pre-chilling, but summer bloomers, such as canna, do not. A great bulb plant that you might want to consider is rain lily (Zephyranthes). It grows without fuss, will spread, and will take sun. Bearded iris and Dutch iris also do extremely well, as do crinum, or spider lilies. Here are several companies that specialize in bulbs. Check with them to see if you can get shipping when you need it: Van Bourgondien, 1-800-622-9959, Brent and Becky's Bulbs, McClure & Zimmerman, Also, check with local full-service nurseries in the fall. I've noticed that more types of bulbs are showing up than in previous years so it might be worth the effort to check with your local nursery in September or October. That's when you should start the chilling process (12-16 weeks, depending upon bulb) so you can plant in January or February. Best wishes with your bulbs!

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