Old House Gardens
From America’s Expert Source for Heirloom Flower Bulbs

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Polianthes tuberosa, MEXICAN SINGLE TUBEROSE, 1530
The heavenly fragrance of tuberoses is as big a pleasure in August as ice cream. Their simple white flowers are clustered on 3-4 foot stalks above short, daylily-like foliage. Most gardeners grow them in pots (always best in the North) or dig and store in fall (we’ll send easy directions), but they’re perennial in zones 8a-11b. We love them so much we named them our Spring 2004 Heirloom Bulb of the Year. Our big, fat, sure-to-bloom bulbs come from an Illinois family farm where they’ve been grown since the 1930s. Chart to compare.
SP30Add to basket:3/$9.755/$15.5010/$2925/$6650/$122
Polianthes tuberosa ‘Pearl’, PEARL DOUBLE TUBEROSE, 1870
Just as blissfully fragrant as ‘Mexican Single’, ‘Pearl’ is a bit shorter, later-blooming, and double, with pale pink buds that open into flowers like tiny gardenias. Discovered by NY nurseryman John Henderson in 1870, it became a Victorian favorite, often sold under the name ‘Excelsior’. Hardy in zones 8a-11b, elsewhere it’s handled like glads (in the winter, just throw the pot in the basement). We send big bulbs, sure to bloom!
SP31Add to basket:3/$12.505/$2010/$3725/$84.5050/$156

TIPS FOR SUCCESS: Short and charming, rain lilies are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. To bloom well, they need hot summers. Though they prefer full sun and moist loam, they are very easy to grow in a wide range of conditions, even damp clay. In their native Argentina the white ones actually grow in marshland! In colder areas, they can make interesting plants for summer pots. Learn more.

Zephyranthes candida, WHITE RAIN LILY, 1822
“Absurdly easy and prolific,” writes Scott Ogden in Garden Bulbs for the South of this cheery little flower. Over grassy foliage, its short, white, crocus-like flowers open after late-summer rains. Discovered by Spanish explorers in the 1500s, it grew so thickly along Argentina’s Rio de la Plata that it inspired its name: River of Silver. Praised by Bostonian E.S. Rand in his 1866 Bulbs, it’s easy in pots in the North and perennial in zones 7a-11b. 5-7”, from Holland. Chart to compare.
SP29Add to basket:10/$8.7525/$2050/$37.50100/$70250/$158
Zephyranthes citrina, YELLOW RAIN LILY, 1880
The golden, crocus-like blooms of this tough little pixie can open throughout the summer, especially in well-watered gardens, but its glory days come in early fall. It takes poor, droughty, and even boggy soils, and when happy – even in a pot – it self-sows eagerly. Native to the Yucatan, it’s recommended in American garden books by the 1930s at least. Grassy foliage, aka Z. sulphurea, 6-8”, zones 7a-10b, from Holland. Chart to compare.
SP53Add to basket:10/$9.7525/$22.5050/$42100/$78250/$176
Zephyranthes grandiflora, PINK RAIN LILY, 1825
“Luscious as a bowl of raspberry sherbet” wrote Elizabeth Lawrence of this, “the best known of all zephyr lilies.” With grass-like foliage and rosy pink flowers on 6-10 inch stems, mostly in early summer, it was brought to the US from Central America in 1825. If you’re north of zone 8, try some in a pot, once a common sight on porches. In winter, simply set the pot dry in the basement. For inspiration, read one Wisconsin family’s story of their 100-year love affair with pink fairy lilies in zone-4! Zones 8a-10b, from Holland. Chart to compare.
SP28Add to basket:10/$8.2525/$1950/$35.50100/$66250/$149

DAYLILIES & DIVERSE ARCHIVES – For customer tips and raves, the stories behind the bulbs, links and books, history, news, and more, see our Newsletter Archives.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS – Most of the bulbs in this section are easy to grow, but their needs, of course, are diverse. To help you choose wisely for your garden, here’s our best advice for their planting and care.

ANTIQUE MONTBRETIACAUTION! In warm climates, Crocosmia multiply vigorously and can easily become INVASIVE. Do NOT grow near water. Do NOT compost corms, plants, or the soil they’ve grown in. Plant in well-drained soil, in full sun in the North or full sun to part-shade in the South, and about 8-10” apart. Learn more.

DAYLILIES – These dependable perennials are easy to grow just about anywhere. They like lots of sun but most bloom well in light shade, too, and often prefer it in the South. We ship freshly dug, bare-root clumps with at least three fans (growing points). Plant as soon as they arrive in April, about 18-24” apart and no more than 1” below the soil surface. Learn more.

RAIN LILIES – To bloom well, rain lilies need hot summers. Though they prefer full sun and moist loam, they are very easy to grow in a wide range of conditions, even damp clay. In their native Argentina the white ones actually grow in marshland! In colder areas, they make interesting plants for summer pots. Learn more.

ST. JOSEPH’S LILY – Choose a spot in full sun if you’re in the northern parts of its range, or in light shade further south. Fertile, well-drained soil is best, but St. Joseph’s lily can thrive in heavy clay, too. It’s happiest outdoors, but you can grow also it in a pot. Please note, though, that it blooms in spring, not winter, and it’s nowhere near as easy to bloom indoors as modern amaryllis are. Learn more.

TUBEROSES – Tuberoses need full sun, moist soil and plenty of nutrition to do their best. In the North, we recommend growing them in pots, starting them inside and then moving them outside when nights warm up into the 60s. In the SOUTH, you can bloom them successfully in the ground, where singles often do better and bloom earlier. Plant in a hot, sunny spot with well-drained soil. Keep soil moist and fertilize regularly. Learn more.

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