The Top Spring Bulbs at All Things Plants

Posted by @dave on
There are over 30,000 spring-blooming bulbs in our database, but which are the most popular? Let's have a look!

#1: Daffodils (Narcissus)

@jmorth says, "Most daffodils are easy to force over winter. Deep pots are best, allowing room for root development. Need good drainage. 5 typical sized bulbs do well in a 6" pot. Bulbs may be placed in close proximity to each other but preferably not touching. Press firmly into the medium and add more medium to cover "shoulders" of bulbs. This too should be firmed in.
Grower can force two ways...1) pots may be placed outdoors, plunged into the earth, and covered with a protective layer of insulation (light soil, leached ash, straw, or pine needles). Protective layer must be a substance through which emerging buds (shoots) may grow through unobstructed. Maintain watering (but not too much). Usually 12 weeks is sufficient outside. When brought inside, essential to initially keep them cool. Water more freguently, never allowing them to become dry. The higher the humidity the better.
To use in following seasons, flowering stems are removed, weak tomato (high potash) fertilizer may be applied, keep in bright light till warm enough to translocate, then plant bulbs outside. They often bloom the following season, but sometimes may need a season to recover.
2) May be potted up as described above in the fall. Let roots get a good start by watering pot and letting it sit for a week or so before placing into a dedicated refrigerator with temperature maintained around 34 to 40°.Check to water periodically. 12 weeks later (obvious growth noted, pots well rooted), may be removed. I let mine acclimate under fluorescent lights in the basement where winter temps average around 60° for a week or so. When buds are about to burst, move upstairs for display. To enjoy in subsequent seasons, as described above, transplant into garden.
Before having a refrigerator dedicated to forcing, I was able to successfully force by utilizing a covered outside stairwell to basement. Bulbs were potted up, placed in big totes, and then totes were placed in stairwell and covered with blankets. This method's advantage was less watering (humidity maintained by enclosure)."
#2: Tulips (Tulipa)

@Marilyn says, "I love Tulips, but didn't like the critters eating them after I planted them. So, I did some searching on the internet and found that by adding some crushed oyster shells, I could grow Tulips. The oyster shells are gritty and that deters the critters.

Since I was layering different bulbs into the holes, I added the crushed oyster shells throughout because some of the bulbs weren't listed as deer resistant. I didn't lose a single bulb! All my Tulips came up, as well as all the other bulbs in the past two years! Of course, I had to plant new Tulips the second year."
#3: Daffodil (Narcissus 'Tete-a-Tete')

@valleylynn says, "Early blooming backcross of N. cyclamineus × N. 'Cyclataz' (N. cyclamineus × N. tazetta 'Grand Soleil d'Or').

This Narcissus is a good choice for pot forcing.
It multiplies freely, so should be divided every 5 to 10 years to prevent overcrowding of the bulbs.

Jan. 2013. I dug up some of the bulbs to send home with a friend. The bulbs have grown to a very large size and have already produced many offset bulbs, after only one year of planting."
#4: Triandrus Daffodil (Narcissus 'Thalia')

@critterologist says, "One of the last to bloom in my garden, 'Thalia' provides a gentle end to the spring daffodil show. Their delicate windswept looking blooms are sweetly fragrant, not as individually powerful as 'Tahiti' or some of the other double and split-corona daffs, but with none of the muskiness of paperwhites either. They increase well for me; 50 bulbs have turned into a nice little drift in the past 5 or 6 years."
#5: Double Daffodil (Narcissus 'Tahiti')

@critterologist says, "The first double daffodil I've grown and still one of my favorites. I love the little sparkles of brilliant orange color, and the scent is such a sweet perfume! It's a moderate increaser for me."

@jmorth added, "The International Daffodil Register & Classified List of the RHS has two registered daffodils of this name. The other is a division 2 entry from Australia/New Zealand w/ first flowering noted around 1927."
#6: Checkered Lily (Fritillaria meleagris)

@BookerC1 says, "I look forward to this shy little flower every spring! It multiplies very slowly, so don't count on it filling in an area very quickly. The foliage is very narrow and barely noticeable, so be careful not to weed them out before they bloom. Very pretty with Sweet William "Sooty" and heuchera "Plum Pudding.""
#7: Grape Hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum)

@sandnsea2 says, "Muscari armeniacum is a wonderful, early spring blooming bulb. It is planted in fall along with the Tulips and Daffodils. I love this plant because it naturalizes nicely when it is in a happy situation. It complements any other plants near it.
I also appreciate the way this bulb produces its leaves in the Fall.
The species name denotes its country of origin, Armenia."
#8: Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica)

@Newyorkrita says, "Great naturalizing plants which grow very well in shade or mixed sun. Bulbs are planted in fall and flowers in the spring after which folliage dies back."

@jmorth added, "In cultivation historically since at least 1601."
#9: Double Daffodil (Narcissus 'Rip van Winkle')

@valleylynn says, "Also known as 'Plenus'.
Rip Van Winkle is an heirloom dating back to about 1884. Considered a miniature.
It has whorls of narrow, pale greenish-yellow petals, some with a slight twist. Blooms are 1 to 2" across.
This one naturalizes well."

@jmorth added, "RHS - 'l. about 50 mm wide, pale greenish yellow; perianth and other petaloid segments in several whorls symmetrically superimposed, narrowly ovate and acute, or lanceolate and with prominently incurved mucro, sometimes twisted, with margins tinged green, separated; the outer whorl inflexed; the inner whorls successively more strongly inflexed; corona segments opposite the petaloid segments, a little shorter, clustered at centre, more loosely interspersed among the surrounding whorls, obscurely bi-lobed. Very early. "
#10: Species Tulip (Tulipa tarda)

@valleylynn says, "Tulipa tarda is an easy-to-grow species tulip. It will come back year after year and will naturalize well in good growing conditions.
Very low growing. Multiple blooms per stem.
Native to sub-alpine meadows in Central Asia. In cultivation since about 1590.
Only species bulb ever honored with the title of "Flower of the Year" in Holland in 1997.
Uses: Rock gardens, in beds, border fronts, or naturalized around trees or shrubs."
#11: Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

@Mindy03 says, "Valuable source of nectar and pollen for honey bees"

@Marilyn added, "I love these precious and beautiful little gems! They're wonderful to see in the late winter - early spring when not much else is blooming! They always put a smile on my face and in my heart when I see them blooming in my garden every year!"
#12: Lady Tulip (Tulipa clusiana)

@valleylynn says, "From Iran east to the western Himalaya. It is one of the only species that can naturalize in Mediterranean climates that do not have cold winters. Introduced in 1802"
#13: Triumph Tulip (Tulipa 'Prinses Irene')

@jmorth says, "Introduced in 1949. Sport of Couleur Cardinal. Easy to force."

@Marilyn added, "I've grown 'Princess Irene' several times before. I usually amend the soil with crushed oyster shells in the soil to deter the critters when planting.

I love seeing the blooms growing in my garden. Gorgeous coloring!

I've seen 'Princess Irene' listed both as a Triumph Tulip and as a Single Early Tulip."
#14: Dwarf Tulip (Tulipa greigii 'Red Riding Hood')

@okus says, "Because they are so much shorter than ordinary tulips, these are great for giving a spring show in windy areas."
#15: Grecian Windflower (Anemone blanda 'Blue Shades')

@critterologist says, "What a weird looking "bulb" -- like a bark nugget. I seem to end up planting them in fairly wet soil, so I don't bother soaking them first. Their bloom time overlaps with oriental hyacinths and mini daff 'Rip van WInkle'"
#16: Grape Hyacinths (Muscari)

@jmorth says, "Small bulbs that flower in early spring, well suited for naturalizing at a woodland edge or lining along garden paths and borders. Fragrance often described as 'musky'.
30 species. Originally from the Mediterranean area and SW Asia. Flowers form a dense raceme w/ spike-like appearance.
More vigorous species may become invasive (could be considered an asset as Muscari look best in large, bold groups).
Topdress established clumps w/ bonemeal in spring. Lift and divide when overcrowded, Incorporate fresh top soil before re-planting.
Some growers design "rivers" of blue for spring viewing enjoyment. Useful to make garden designs.
Excellent for forcing over winter. Refrigerator treatment works well. Height in the 3 to 8" range. Leaves 1 to 4.
Color mainly blue, pale to deep navy blue, also whites, a yellow, and a pale pink."
#17: Dutch Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis 'Gipsy Queen')

@jmorth says, "Introduced in 1927. Good forcer.
May be translocated into garden after forcing to bloom in following seasons.
Uniform structure lends hyacinths well for geometric design purposes.
Seldom bothered by pests."

@jmorth added, "Specially designed glassware makes forcing in water a breeze. Hyacinth fragrance is amazing."
#18: Grape Hyacinth (Muscari latifolium)

@critterologist says, "Definitely different from the common "grape hyacinths" (M. armeniacum). These are taller, with larger strap-like leaves (not grassy looking). In my garden, they don't increase well. In fact, they tend to decline in number over time."
#19: Dutch Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis 'Delft Blue')

@BookerC1 says, "Excellent for forcing, and for color and fragrance during the winter months. Fragrance can be overpowering in a small room. Spent forced bulbs can be planted outdoors when soil warms, and will reliably return for 2-3 years."
#20: White Fawn Lily (Erythronium albidum)

@wildflowers says, "The flowers bloom from mid-March to mid-April. White Trout Lily is a very special woodland plant that usually blooms a little earlier than other spring flowers, although immature plants that don't bloom always outnumber mature plants.. Trout lily bulbs produce just one leaf in the first 6 years, then 2 leaves, a scape-stem, and finally a flower in the 7th year. White Trout Lily can produce large colonies of plants if it is left undisturbed for several decades. Both the flowers and mottled foliage are attractive. The flowers are primarily pollinated by both long-tongued and short-tongued bees for nectar and pollen."
#21: Common Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis 'Blue Jacket')

@jmorth says, "Good to force. May be translocated outside after force, will bloom in following seasons. Regularity lends well to geometric designs."

@BookerC1 added, "Will return for 2-3 years, but gradually loses vigor and becomes more scraggly. Beautiful, intense blue color is a great foil for daffodils and other light-colored early spring bulbs. Fragrance is incredible! For cut flower, cut when first blooms open and place immediately in water. Even one will scent an entire room."
#22: Dutch Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis 'Fondant')

@Marilyn says, "I planted 10 'Fondant' bulbs last fall for the first time, not knowing just how gorgeous the flowers would be. I loved the pink color! This spring they all came up and I was in awe looking at them. I couldn't get enough of those flowers and kept staring at their beauty. I planted them in the flowerbed in front of our front porch, so I could see them all the time. The fragrance was wonderful. I kept meaning to take some pics while they were in bloom, but sadly I never got around to it. I pulled them all out of the ground as soon as they were finished blooming because they weren't going to be the full blooming plants the following spring."
#23: English Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

@Mindy03 says, "Honey bees get nectar and pollen from this plant."

@Dodecatheon3 added, "'English Bluebells' have the following characteristics that help distinguish them from 'Spanish Bluebells':
Narrow pointed leaves about 1/2 inch wide, strong sweet scent, cream-colored pollen, flowers mostly on one side & nodding top portion of stem."
#24: Yellow Grape Hyacinth (Muscari macrocarpum 'Golden Fragrance')

@valleylynn says, "An Aegean native bulb that needs well-drained soil with sun and summer heat to do its best.

Spikes of violet-tinted buds open to bright yellow blooms

Plants of this species go dormant in summer, and they generally prefer hot dry soils when dormant.
This species will naturalize by self-seeding in favorable conditions, but unlike most other species of Muscari, it produces few bulb offsets.

USDA Zone 6, 'Golden Fragrance' will usually survive USDA Zone 5 winters if given a good winter mulch."
#25: Snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii)

@Mindy03 says, "Valuable source of nectar and pollen in winter. Pollen color is pink."

 
Comments and discussion:
Thread TitleLast ReplyReplies
Muscari by greeneJan 10, 2015 1:43 PM1

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