Growing bulbs in zone 8a - Knowledgebase Question

Las Vegas, NV
Question by kcisneros
September 7, 2017
I live is Las Vegas but in an area close to the mountains at apx. 3,500 feet elevation so it gets pretty cold in the winters (teens on ocassion) but also very hot in the summer (think 110+). Can I be successful at growing bulbs here and is there any information that would be helpful, such as whether or not to leave them in the ground over summer, etc.? I have never grown them but would love to add some surprise color to our yard.

North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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A comment from tx_flower_child
September 7, 2017
Are there any particular bulbs that you are interested in? Or just whatever might work? Also, are you thinking of blooms for any particular season? I'm sure that we can recommend some. And thanks for telling us about your location and climate. If not me, then I'm sure someone else will have some suggestions.

Las Vegas, NV
A comment from kcisneros
September 8, 2017
Really anything that will work. I'd like to have some color as much of the year as possible. Thank you!

North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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A comment from tx_flower_child
September 8, 2017
Forgot to ask. Do you get sun, shade or something in between? Also, rumor has it that you have soil that is like hard clay. Do you know if that's true? Don't worry because soil can be amended. Keep in mind that much if not all that will do well for you will need to be planted in the opposite season from when they bloom. And to answer part of your question, many people do plant bulbs that stay in the ground all year while others will plant in pots that can be sunk in the ground. An example of the latter are amaryllis bulbs. These are the ones that are usually sold around Xmas. So many people toss them after they bloom but they can continue to grow. Often people in hot climates (like here in Texas) do pot them up and sink the pots in the ground. Unless someone else jumps in with specifics, I'll update this with some actual recommendations later tonight. In the meantime let us know what kind of light you have and what type of soil. The nice thing about bulbs and rhizomes is that you can get successive blooms that will appear as the seasons change.

North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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Answer from tx_flower_child
September 9, 2017

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Here are some bulbs and rhizomes that should work for you.
The first thing that comes to mind is Canna Lilies. They will bloom throughout your summer heat.
Daffodils, crocus, grape hyacinth - most of these will show up in late winter / early spring. They should be planted in the fall.
Irises are not 'bulbs' but are 'rhizomes'. Plant these in early fall. (Some sites say not to plant irises in the fall. But Las Vegas is a most interesting place to garden.)
Lilies can be planted in the spring.
If you decide to try your hand with Amaryllis, plant these away from afternoon sun.

I hope that this will give you some colorful bulbs to consider.

Las Vegas, NV
A comment from kcisneros
September 10, 2017
Thank you so much for the feedback! Yes, we have very hard "soil" that I would need to amend. The places that I'm considering planting would get several hours of morning/early afternoon sunlight.

North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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A comment from tx_flower_child
September 10, 2017
I didn't add tulips even though a lot of sites do. I'm skeptical about growing them where you are plus they need to be chilled unless you buy them from a nursery that sells them from cold storage.

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