The bulbs in autumn
For fans of bulbous plants, autumn is a moment of fervent work, on the one hand it is time to shelter the most delicate summer flowering bulbous plants at home, away from frost, the ones that gave us their flowers up to a few days ago, and which must now be placed in a sheltered place, to prevent them from irreparably ruining the first frost; in addition to this, autumn is surely the best time to prepare the spring flowering bulbous flowerbeds, on the one hand we will now have to fix the bulbous plants that we have already buried last year, on the other we can plant new spring-flowering bulbous plants. By planting tulips, crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths, we will be sure that at the beginning of the next spring they will begin to vegetate, and blossom as soon as possible.
Unfortunately it often happens that the flowerbeds of spring-flowering bulbous plants are placed in spring, when in the nursery they begin to see the first vases of daffodils blossomed; in this way the bulbs will hardly produce a beautiful bloom already a few weeks after being planted, and the budding gardener will feel like a failure; if instead we will have the foresight to choose and plant spring-flowering bulbous plants already in autumn, we will have a rich and abundant flowering, even from the small packet of bulbs found at the supermarket. In autumn we can often find in the most equipped nurseries a wide choice of spring-flowering bulbous plants, much wider than that which can usually be found in spring; even a ride on the internet, at sites specialized in geophytes, certainly from better fruits in the fall.
The main jobs for summer flowering bulbous plants
Surely the biggest job to do is to remove delicate bulbous plants from the ground, usually those with summer bloom; canes, dhalie, amarillis, hippeastrum, caladium, gladioli, many species are not completely rustic, especially in the cooler areas of Italy, it is therefore good to remove them from the ground to be able to put them in a sheltered place during the winter; it also happens that, in areas where winters are not so harsh, summer-flowering bulbous plants are removed from the ground, in order to place in their place other flowers, in autumn and winter, periods in which bulbous plants are in complete vegetative rest.
Remember that bulbous plants are plants that have underground organs modified to store nutrients, so that the plant can use them from one year to the next; plants often use this surplus precisely for flowering. As everyone knows, plants produce nutrients through chlorophyll photosynthesis, which occurs in green plant cells, or in foliage in general.
Growing bulbous plants
So if we want our bulbous flowers to bloom abundantly next year, you will need to have stored a good amount of nutrients this year so you can use them in the next flowering season. It follows that the foliage of our bulbous plants must have at least a few weeks to develop well and be able to practice photosynthesis; usually the leaves of bulbous plants develop together with the first flowers, or just after; when they have produced sufficient nutrients they dry naturally, and the plant is in vegetative rest.
If we cut the leaves of our bulbous plants as soon as they sprout, because for example we do not like them, or because we do not want them to occupy the flowerbed in which we placed other flowers, within a few years we will bring our bulbous plants to a rapid decay and inexorable, with ever fewer blooms.
Therefore we can eradicate from the ground bulbous plants that have a vegetation that is already yellowing, or even those whose leaves have had the possibility of developing for several weeks; only in this way will we be sure that our bulbous plants will flourish again next year.
Then we will unearth them, leaving them possibly a few days outdoors and in the sun, so that they dry well. Then we clean them of any leaves that are still present and from the soil that has remained attached, we dust them with a fungicide product and place them in a cool, dark and dry place. We can put them in boxes with sand layers, or in jute bags full of sawdust, so as to dry them from any humidity that is still present.
These bulbous plants can be placed back in the ground next year, when the climate will be milder again and free of frost, so that the plants can develop.
If we grow our delicate bulbous plants in pots, we can spend the vegetative rest period directly in the container, moving it to a dark, cool and dry place, suspending the watering completely until spring.
Autumn bulbs: The main works for spring-flowering bulbs
Spring-flowering bulbous plants are planted in autumn, in fact in the catalogs they are referred to as autumnal bulbous plants; we are talking about hyacinths, daffodils, tulips, anemones.
Most of these plants are rustic and well resistant to cold, so if we already have them in the flowerbed it is not necessary for their survival to uproot them and reposition them next year.
Especially with regard to wild-type bulbous plants, or those that can always be left at home, it often happens that over the years the plants tend to bloom less and less, or to produce ever smaller flowers; especially if they are grown in pots.
Bulbous plants in general tend to reproduce by seed but also by producing small bulbs, called bulbils, attached to the main bulb: over time these bulbils tend to develop as new plants, positioning themselves next to the bulb from which they were generated.
Over the years it happens that all the available land space is saturated by the bulbs, and the overcrowding causes plants not always healthy and lush.
For this reason, even when we have rustic bulbous plants in the garden, it may be useful in autumn to remove them, make a selection of the largest and healthiest bulbs, free of dents, and then reposition them at a suitable distance for the development of future plants. With the remaining bulbs we can prepare other flower beds or other pots, or give them to the neighbor.
If we grow flower bulbous plants only in pots, we can decide at the end of flowering to change the plants to be grown in the same pot, since many spring-flowering bulbous plants tend to have a fairly short period of flowering and vegetation, after which the plant enter in vegetative rest.
Also in this case the ideal is to wait for the foliage of the plants to dry naturally; then the pot bulbs are removed and stored in a cool, dry and dark place. As for spring-flowering bulbs, this operation takes place in late spring or in summer, and the bulbs are kept away from heat and drought until autumn, when they are planted again to enjoy flowering in spring.