PHOTO: Jessica Walliser
October 9, 2014

One of my favorite, patiently awaited payoffs occurs at my house every spring—a beautiful show five or six months in the making. The preparation begins in October, when I plant bulbs for daffodils, tulips, crocus, hyacinth and the like. I labor in the garden knowing that when winter’s grip dissipates, I’ll reap the gorgeous rewards of having planted hundreds of spring-blooming bulbs.

Spring-blooming bulbs are planted in the fall to allow them time to develop a full root system before they leaf out and flower the following spring. Most are very easy to grow, as long as you select varieties fully hardy in your area and plant them to the proper depth. A good rule of thumb for planting depth is to locate each bulb two to three times as deep as the bulb is tall.

Here are a few of my favorite, less-common spring-flowering bulbs.

1. Scilla

4 Spring-Blooming Bulbs to Plant This Fall - Photo by Jessica Walliser (HobbyFarms.com)

This delightful little bulb is also known as Siberian squill. One of the easiest bulbs to plant and grow, scilla naturalizes readily and returns reliably year after year, both from seed and bulb offsets. With indigo blue flowers and a stature of a mere 6 inches, this spring beauty is also deer- and rodent-resistant, making it a perfect garden companion. Plus, the bees love collecting pollen from its flowers.

2. Puschkinia

4 Spring-Blooming Bulbs to Plant This Fall - Photo by Jessica Walliser (HobbyFarms.com)

With their demure, powder-blue flowers, Puschkinia are among the first few flowers to bloom in my garden every year. The flowers and bulbs are deer-resistant, and these lovely little blooms look beautiful scattered in a woodland garden, tucked beneath evergreens or in just about any shady place.

3. Chinodoxia
Another small bulb, Chinodoxia bears tiny white and blue, star-shaped flowers on 4-inch-tall stems. Although small, they pack a beautiful punch, returning each spring in droves, with each bulb multiplying year after year. This is my favorite bulb to grow around hostas, hellebores and other shade perennials.

4. Checkered Lilies

4 Spring-Blooming Bulbs to Plant This Fall - Photo by Jessica Walliser (HobbyFarms.com)

Frittilaria meleagarisare also called guinea-hen flowers, and though they are small, they are breathtaking. The petals of each small, bell-shaped flower are covered in a unique checkerboard pattern. This bulb grows to only 8 inches itall, but it is among the most treasured plants in my garden. Each stem bears two nodding blossoms, and the flowers come in shades of purple and white. I put a handful of bulbs into my garden each year in hopes of eventually creating a nice-sized colony of checkered lilies in my garden.

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