These pink, white, yellow, apricot, and purple flowers almost look artificial. But their intense perfume will reassure you they’re real. Tip: Don’t mix them in a vase with other cut flowers -- hyacinth sap will shorten their lifespan. Grows 8 to 12 inches tall in sun to partial sun; plant 5 to 6 inches deep.
With their regal habit and classically shaped blooms, tulips are among the most recognizable flowers. They brighten spring with a wide range of bold colors. Tip: Snip flower stems after bloom so energy isn’t wasted on seed formation. Grows 8 to 30 inches tall in sun to partial sun; plant 6 to 8 inches deep.
Nodding white flowers bloom on arching stems in late winter. They’re fragrant and deer-resistant. Tip: Snowdrops spread easily, so grow them in the lawn beneath the dappled shade of a tree. Grows 3 to 4 inches tall in partial sun; plant 2 to 4 inches deep.
Appearing so early in spring they sometimes pop through snow, crocuses feature large cup-shape flowers in white, yellow, and pastels. Tip: Diminutive bulbs look great planted in bunches in a rock garden. Grows 2 to 6 inches tall in sun to partial sun; plant 3 to 4 inches deep.
Also called ornamental onion, alliums, such as the popular ‘Globemaster’, are an easy-care garden addition. The large globe-shape flowers look good fresh or dried. Tip: Bring back faded glory by spray-painting dead flower globes -- and leave them right in the garden. Grows 32 to 36 inches tall in sun to partial sun; plant 6 to 7 inches deep.
These dependable bloomers are naturally resistant to animal browsing. Flowers are white or yellow, some with contrasting centers of orange, pink, or peach. Tip: Grow among woody plants in natural landscapes, where they will slowly spread. Grows 6 to 20 inches tall in sun to partial sun; plant 5 to 6 inches deep.
Bulb Success Secrets
Plant in groups for more eye appeal. Plop a dozen or more bulbs in a small circle. Or, run a ribbon of them through an existing bed.
Ensure good drainage. Most bulbs will rot in wet soil. If drainage can’t be fixed easily, find another spot.
Protect bulbs. Lay wire mesh or screening -- such as chicken wire -- over beds to keep critters from digging up bulbs. Stake down the mesh.
Consider timing. There are early, mid-, and late-blooming varieties of many bulbs. Include some of each to extend the season of bloom.
Add more species to extend the season even further. Many tulips bloom after daffodils, and alliums can peak even later than that.
Remember companion plants. They add height and structure to carry the bed when bulbs are dormant.
Leave bulb foliage in place until it turns yellow and brown. This helps the bulb store energy for next year. You can mask the foliage with companion plants.