And so should you! We have wonderful varieties of Tulips and Daffodils, but there are other spring-blooming bulbs that you should consider as well. As with all spring-blooming bulbs, these need to over-winter, so they must be planted in the fall to have flowers in the spring. Don’t miss this opportunity!
Minor Bulbs (Bloom late winter or early spring)
So-called Minor bulbs comprise many of the early, smaller varieties of Spring-Flowering bulbs. They tend to be very tolerant of the cold, and many will reseed and naturalize over subsequent years to form a carpet of color when we most need it. These bulbs are small and easy to plant too. As we like to say, “Dig, drop, and done!”
Chionodoxa are small starry flowers that appear in early spring. These bulbs will naturalize in gardens here in Northern Illinois. Plant in random groups in your lawn for colorful flowers in early spring. By the time your lawn is growing tall enough to need cutting, the flowers will have bloomed and the foliage will have gathered the sunlight needed for next spring’s flowering.
Crocus open their blooms from late winter to early spring. Look for crocus with pink, yellow, orange, purple, blue, or white flowers. Plant the bulbs 3 or 4 inches deep in full to part sun. Deer and rabbits seldom bother the bulbs, but voles, mice and squirrels can be a problem.
Eranthis (Winter Aconite) is a member of the buttercup family, and emerges in late winter (often in February) and blooms well before crocuses. Their glossy, yellow flowers are a welcome site this time of year.
Galanthus (Snowdrops) will emerge with fragrant, white heads that pop up through the snow from late winter into very early spring. Snowdrops like partial shade and well-drained soil and should be planted 2 to 3 inches deep. They’re deer resistant and naturalize easily.
Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) are some of the more commonly known-and-grown “minor players” in the garden. They are available in many different colors and can take full sun or shade. As their name suggests, the waxy flowers look like little bunches of grapes. They’re deer resistant and naturalize easily.
Puschkinia are very hardy and open their flowers early in the spring. Their star-shaped blooms are pale blue to bluish-white, with dark stripes down the center of each petal. Undemanding and easy to grow, the bulbs tolerate full sun to part shade, and the plants top out at 12 inches high.
Scilla (Spring Beauty) is short enough to nestle in newly sprouted grass but colorful that it will not be over looked. Spring Beauty creates a little grove of petite umbrella shaped blooms and will spread gently over the years. In time, it will create a gorgeous sea of blue in a lawn, under shrubs and beneath deciduous trees.
Those are Alliums!
“What are those called again?” is a common question we get when fellow gardeners are asking about Alliums. These big, bold globes of color will make an architectural statement to any spring and early-summer garden. They range in height from 8″ to 48″, and blend well with other perennials. The photos below represent our Allium collection as well a variety packs. Remember, you have to plant these in the fall for them to flower in the Spring.