What words come to mind when you think about spring-flowering bulbs? For me, words like “earliest-blooming,” “smallest,” “biggest,” “ugliest ones to plant” and “friendliest” come to mind. I just love how those small, brown, sometimes twisted corms, tubers and bulbs turn into something beautiful! If you love bulbs like me, consider this fun and practical list of top spring-flowering bulbs to add to your garden this fall. But you better get a move on – bulbs need to be planted six weeks before the ground freezes!

Anemone blanda

From a dried-up, shriveled corm a beautiful flower grows.

Photo Credit: Donna W. Moramarco

Allium

The large purple globes of giant Allium also make great cutflowers.

Photo Credit: Donna W. Moramarco

‘Tete-a-Tete’ daffodils

Easy to force, easier to enjoy … ‘Tete-a-Tete’ daffodils are a sure sign of spring.

Photo Credit: Donna W. Moramarco

Red and yellow Tulips

Plant extra tulips because they make great cutflowers to enjoy inside your home.

Photo Credit: Donna W. Moramarco

  • Smallest flowers – Galanthus elwesii (snowdrops) produce small, but plentiful fragrant, bell-shaped flowers in the garden in late winter.
  • Largest flowers – Allium giganteum (giant onion) produce big heads of fluffy, purple flowers on strong stems. Locate these in the rear of flower borders and let them put on a show of color. (Another plus – flowers can be dried for arranging.)
  • Most fragrant – Hyacinthus (hyacinth) is grown for its bountiful fragrance. Plant hyacinths near a path or window so you can become intoxicated by their fragrance.
  • Ugliest – Anemone blanda (Grecian windflower) is the hands-down ugliest thing to plant. Soak the dried, shriveled corms overnight before planting, then watch as this ugly duckling transforms into a beautiful swan during spring bloom.
  • Earliest bloomer – Crocus (crocus) can often be found poking their delicate flowers through a light dusting of snow in early spring. Try Crocus ‘Remembrance’ for an early jump on spring color.
  • Most deer-resistant. Narcissus (daffodils) are not on the menu for local deer – let’s cheer! Try mass plantings of your favorite variety, or mix several varieties for color and enjoyment. If you’re really clever, you’ll plant with a sequence in mind so you have many weeks of enjoyment. Look for and buy early-, mid- and late-season bloomers!
  • Most unusual – Fritillaria (fritillary) are real showstoppers in the garden, especially when planted in clumps of three to five in flower or landscape borders.
  • Best for indoor blooms – Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ (‘Tete-a-Tete’ daffodil) is an all-time favorite for forcing. If you’ve ever bought pots of forced daffodils in the early spring, chances are you bought ‘Tete-a-Tete’.
  • Best for cutflowers: Tulipa (tulip) are great for cutting and bringing indoors to enjoy in your home. Be sure to plant lots of extras tulips outside, so when the time comes you can bring the bright springtime colors inside!
  • Most kid-friendly – Daffodils make this list again because the bulbs are easy for kids to handle. Just remember – pointy side up when planting. A particularly good choice is Narcissus ‘King Alfred’.

Now’s the time to buy your bulbs and plant them! Take a copy of this article to your favorite garden center, and dig into those bulb bins! My challenge to you: See how many on this list you can add to your garden this year!