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Southern California Regional Reports

Fall-Planted Bulbs and Corms for Southern California

Plant these bulbs in fall for gorgeous color in winter and spring

Bieberstein’s crocus. Photo: Kerry Ann Moore.

Bulbs and corms that originate in a Mediterranean climate are some of the best-performing but least-known plants for Southern California. There are hundreds of species of incredible bulbs from California, South Africa, Greece, Turkey, and Chile that thrive with very little maintenance and water in California, yet most Californians are more familiar with tulips (Tulipa spp. and cvs., Zones 3–8) and daffodils (Narcissus spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9) than they are with mariposa lilies (Calochortus superbus and cvs., Zones 7–11) and baboon flowers (Babiana spp. and cvs, Zones 8–11).

These bulbs and corms vary in their bloom time, from fall to winter to spring, but almost all of them are planted in fall after a summer dormancy period during the heat. Most Mediterranean climate bulbs thrive in well-drained soil with little to no irrigation. Here are a few of my favorites.

Mariposa lily
Mariposa lily. Photo: Brent and Becky’s Bulbs

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