There’s nothing that says spring more than the first blooms of our favorite bulbs. Review this list for some of the most common spring-blooming bulbs available for purchase. These bulbs generally arrive at our locations in early to mid-September. Plant them anytime between October thru November, though it is best to wait to plant tulips after soil temperatures stabilize below 50°F, which in our area usually is around mid-November.
Allium – Flowering Onion
Beautiful flowering members of the onion family. Plant 3 times the depth of the bulb. Most are 6” to 20” tall, but A. ‘Giganteum’, ‘Globemaster’, ‘Mont Blanc’, and ‘Gladiator’, grow 3 to 5 feet tall. Good for cutting.
Alliums prefer mostly sun, with well-draining soil. A. triquetrum and A. ursinum will tolerate
part-shade. Amend soil with builder’s sand or fine grit to ensure good drainage. A. ursinum will tolerate slightly damp soil.
Anemone – Grecian Windflower
Daisy-like pastel-colored flowers of white, pink or blue on 4” stems. Soak tubers overnight in lukewarm water, plant sideways, 2” deep. Use a humus-rich, loamy soil with a higher than average pH. Plant in partial sun with protection from wind to help prolong blooming.
Chionodoxa – Glory-of-the-Snow
6” tall, star-like flowers in pretty blue with a white center, bloom in early spring. The grass-like foliage of a rich, dark green color. Naturalizes well if planted 3” to 4” deep; full sun. Use a well-drained soil for best results.
Crocus bulbs are the harbingers of spring, as they are usually the first spring bulb to bloom in your yard. Their small size and ability to grow and thrive practically anywhere make them one of the easiest bulbs to plant. Blooms magnificent colors of purples, whites, yellows, or striped varieties on a single bloom that closes at night or on cloudy days.
Plant 3 inches deep and 4 inches apart during the fall in a well-drained soil. Full sun to partial shade.
Eranthis – Winter Aconite
4” tall golden-yellow flowers announce early spring. Soak pea-sized tubers overnight, plant sideways, 2” deep in full sun to partial shade. Plant in masses in a well-drained soil for best results.
Fritillaria imperialis “Crown Imperial”–Crowns of yellow or red on 3’ stems. Bulbs have a musky odor said to repel rodents. Plant bulb tilted to one side, so water won’t collect in center crevices. Plant 5” to 6” deep; sun and well-draining soil, amended with sand or fine grit.
Fritillaria meleagris “Checker Lilies”–Dainty nodding flowers in white or checkered maroon on 12” stems.Plant 3” to 4” deep; part-shade. Best if planted soon after purchase.
Fritillaria michaelovsky “Michael’s Flower”–Nodding bells of purple/bronze edged with gold. Plant these like F. meleagris.
Fritillaria persica “Persian Fritillary”–3-foot spires of plum-purple flowers. Plant these like F. imperialis.
Galanthus – Common Snowdrop
4” tall dainty white flowers in very early spring. Plant these pest-proof bulbs 3” to 4” deep; part-sun to light shade. Pretty when naturalized in lawns.
Incredibly fragrant flowers in a rainbow of colors. Blooms in mid- to late-March. Plant 6” deep; full to half-day sun.
Hyacinths ‘Festival’ –Multi-flowering in pink, blue, and white, similar to the old French Roman Hyacinths. Wonderfully fragrant. Plant these like regular hyacinths.
Hyacinthoides hispanica (Scilla campanulata) “Wood Hyacinths” “Spanish Bluebells”–Excellent
woodland flowers in white, pink, and blue, naturalize well. Plant 4” deep; bright shade.
Hyacinthoides non-scripta “English Bluebells”–This is the woodland hyacinth found naturalized so
beautifully in England. Lovely violet-blue flowers are sweetly fragrant. Plant 4” deep; bright shade; leave to naturalize.
German Bearded Iris–Large, soft flowers in a wide variety of colors. Blooms late spring. Plant the rhizome just beneath the soil surface; full sun. Dust the rhizome with Bulb Dust before planting, to deter iris borers.
Iris “Dutch Iris”–24” tall flowers in assorted colors bloom in late spring (May). Plant 4” deep; full to half day sun.
Iris reticulata or Iris danfordiae–6” tall, very early blooming. Flowers in shades of purple/blue (reticulata) or yellow (Danfordiae). Plant this like Dutch Iris.
Muscari “Grape Hyacinths”–6” spikes of small round flowers in white or shades of blue. Naturalizes especially well if planted 3” to 4” deep; part sun
Narcissus “Daffodils” “Jonquils”—One of the best-loved flowers, and for good reason. Naturalizes beautifully; not bothered by pests. Cup-like, trumpet flowers come in whites, pinks, yellows, oranges, and mixes of various colors. Plant twice the depth of the bulb in a well-drained soil enriched with organic matter; full to part-sun.
When people think of spring bulbs, the tulip is probably one of the first varieties thought of. Tulip bulbs are plentiful and come in a variety of colors too extensive to name here. Plant 4 – 8” deep and 4 – 8″ apart for best results. Plant in full sun in a well-drained, sandy soil. Plant in mid-November when the ground temperatures have stabilized at below 50 degrees. Until then, store in paper or mesh bag in a cool, dark place.