A pictorial guide to the small green plants popping up outside.

In the spring, when I head out to the garden to see what needs to be done, I often find myself wondering, “now what could that green thing be? “. Do you seem to do that too? It could be that I planted something and then forgot what I planted, or maybe some plant reseeded itself and it is coming up without my help.

Here are a few pictures to show you the differences between some of the plants- at least the ones I have in my yard.

greenery
This is a tulip emerging from the soil. They usually start to show in mid -February

Usually gardeners are wondering what is the difference between a tulip or a daffodil and so, here is a daffodil.

The first shoots of the daffodil before it flowers. The stems are flattened, paddle shaped.

Now that you can see the pictures side by side, the difference is plain. Some other plants are not so simple. Here is another bulb that you may have planted in your garden, the scilla. I included a photo of it in bloom since it is not as well known as the tulip and daffodil.

Scilla or squill. A spring bulb.

Here is what it looks like as it just is emerging. This picture does not give the scale of this plant very well, it is a very small bulb and small flower. The greens are about 2 inches high in this photo, and as a mature plant, they only reach 4-6 inches high.

Crocus vs. Grape Hyacinth

These can get me confused at times and I love my crocuses, they have been in my landscape for more than 20 years and they keep multiplying! Now, it is a totally different story for the grape hyacinths, they are garden thugs, multiplying and trying to squeeze out the preferred crocuses. Once they are in bloom there is no question to their identity but early on it can be confusing.

One clue is that the grape hyacinth greens, (muscari) will show up in the fall. The crocus greens will not appear until mid-February. Grape hyacinth greens are longer, leggier a bit larger and floppy. Crocus greens are a bit straighter, some have a white line on the greens and the real give away is the grouping at the soil level.

Crocus greens in spring

Notice the “wrapping” of the greens at the bottom. That is my sure way to tell the difference. I don’t want to get close to pulling these out of the ground. But, it is a different story with the muscari.

Muscari – grape hyacinth greens

The picture above are the bulbs I want to pull out of the ground and every spring, I do. But they multiply like crazy- the bulbs will produce bulbettes Here is what it looks like as it just is emerging. This picture does not give the scale of this plant very well, it is a very small bulb and small flower. The greens are about 2 inches high in this photo. The bulbs under the ground produce bulbettes and later on, the flowers dry and drop seeds. They have found the secret to over population- they reproduce in more than one way.

Published by Vicki

I love gardening and when it comes to vegetables, organic gardening is important to me. I am an Advanced Master Gardener with the University of Idaho, and my favorite garden activity is pruning. When I'm not cutting down plants, you can find me shooting photos on my Canon DSLR or out smashing overheads on the tennis courts.

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