Did you know that you can plant buried treasure? Smart gardeners know that fall is the perfect time to plant flower bulbs that will bloom in the spring. Planting bulbs is one of the easiest types of gardening, and it’s the perfect way for beginners to get started. It’s really as easy as “dig, drop, and done.”
The old-fashioned way of planting flower bulbs (in a single line alongside a driveway), has given way to planting bulbs in clumps or large swaths that create a dramatic display of spring color.
Planting about five bulbs per square foot creates the best display of blooms.
Generally, bigger bulbs mean bigger blooms. That’s why expert gardeners advise against buying small, less expensive bulbs, because you might be disappointed come springtime.
There are many types of spring-flowering bulbs. The big three varieties—daffodils, tulips and allium bulbs—give you the best bang for your buck. Here are some of the best new varieties and bulb mixes.
Rijnveld’s Early Sensation may look like a normal, yellow, daffodil—but it’s not. This beauty is an ultra-early bloomer. In fact, it often blooms in January in the test gardens of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Gloucester, Va.—even through the snow! A good spot for this beauty is in a flower bed against a south-facing wall and near a window or entryway where everyone will see it when they come visit.
Rijnveld’s Early Sensation will quickly become one of your favorite spring flowers. Just when you’re ready for some Spring color, this daffodil emerges to give you hope that spring is just around the corner. Plant this bulb in USDA Zones 3-8 in a sunny location and it will reach 12-14 inches tall. Five bulbs sell for $6.50 from brentandbeckysbulbs.com.
Named for the famous city and port in Holland, the Rotterdam Mix of daffodils is perfect for the entire spring season. Plant these daffodils and you’ll not only get one beautiful display of blooms, but you’ll get three yellow-bloom displays. That’s because the Rotterdam Mix is a combination of early-, mid- and late-spring blooms all in one planting, taking the guesswork out of creating a garden display that lasts all spring.
Plant 6-8 bulbs per square foot for maximum visual effect, and you’ll also enjoy the added benefit of having these blooms shade out any weeds, making it a low-maintenance addition to your full sun garden. Plus, this mix of bulbs is great for beginning gardeners because these bulbs will bloom year after year. Rotterdam Mix is available from brentandbeckysbulbs.com. 100 bulbs sell for $116.00.
Tulips are the queens of the spring bulb garden because of their colorful, showy flowers. A new blend of tulips called Twister combines three stunning hybrid tulips in one easy-to-plant assortment. Twister Tulip Blend is made up of a single-petalled late yellow tulip, a white lily-flowered tulip, and a deep-red Triuklllli0-----yhtmph. The combination is stunning, as the glowing yellow flowers and ruby-red goblets mix with the arching while lily tulip petals.
This delightful mix blooms together beautifully in late spring. The flowers reach 16 to 22 inches in height throughout USDA Zones 3-7. (Pre-chill the bulbs before planting in zones 7b-10.) Plant these bulbs in a spot that gets full sunlight in well-drained soil. A mix of 100 Tulip Blend Twister bulbs sells for $39.00 at colorblends.com.
A new mixture of hybrid tulip bulbs called Wedding Gift Collection is a delightful mix of pastel pink, light purple and pure white peony tulips. (They’re called peony tulips because the flowers have so many petals that they resemble peony flowers.) These three colorful tulip varieties bloom at the same time, and their double flowers make a carpet of flowers in spring. Besides the beauty of their 16-18 inch tall flowers, these tulips have a nice fragrance. The Wedding Gift Collection is available from DutchGrown.com.
The tall, globe-shaped flowers of Allium bulbs are a stunning sight in the late spring or early summer garden. Ornamental Alliums are related to onions and garlic, and the large bulbs look a lot like a harvested onion.
One of the largest varieties of flowering Allium is called Globemaster, reaching 2 ½ to 3 feet tall with flower clusters that are a full 8 inches wide! This terrific Dutch hybrid blooms for up to 3 weeks, repeating more reliably than many other Allium varieties. Because it’s a sterile plant, it puts all its energy into producing more flowers instead of making seeds. The result is a large, dramatic flowering plant that makes a great focal point in the garden. Available from WaysideGardens.com. It thrives in USDA Zones 4-8.