Best Early Spring Blooming Bulbs
When you think of the spring garden, chances are good that images of flowering bulbs pop into your mind, don’t they? Come April and May, our gardens are bursting with color from these blooming bulbs — but there’s no need to wait until then to enjoy some color in your garden!
There’s a large group of bulbs that bloom much earlier in the season, from late winter to early spring. Add some of these to your garden, and you’ve instantly extended your garden season simply by jumpstarting it. Here are some of our favorites — they are perfect for mixing and matching, planting in masses, or tucking into your favorite containers!
Early Blooming Crocus Bulbs
There are spring-flowering crocus and fall-flowering crocus, and we’re talking about the spring bloomers here. Depending upon your growing zone, these tiny bloomers can pop their heads up in late winter to early spring, often right through the snow! Sporting Easter egg colors of purple, yellow, lavender, and white, crocus are low-growing up to 5-6” tall with cup-shaped flower petals. Plant them in the fall about 3” deep in well-drained soil, in an area of your garden that receives full sun to part shade at the time they wil be blooming. USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8.
Our favorites? King of the Stripes with its striped violet petals, Goldilocks with golden yellow blooms, and Jeanne d’Arc for a stunning white display. Need more detailed planting directions? We’ve got them for you here.
Early Blooming Galanthus or "Snowdrop" Bulbs"
These short (5-6” tall) woodland bulbs have tiny white flowers with green markings at the end of arching stems. They have a sweet honey scent, are deer resistant, and bloom around the same time that their crocus friends do. They’re best planted in the fall in well-drained soil, at a 2-3” planting depth, in an area that will receive full sun to partial shade during their bloom time. Although they are suitable for USDA Hardiness Zones 3-9, keep in mind that they do need some winter chill in order to bloom best — so gardeners with very mild winters may to find a happy alternative.
Early Blooming Anemone Bulbs
These bright blooms flower in early spring through the fall, depending upon the species. Their flower shapes and colors offer a wide range to suit your taste — petals are slim or rounded, single or double, and in shades of red, white, blue, pink, yellow, coral, purple, and coral. Anemones are a bit taller than some of their other blooming friends, growing up to 10” tall. They generally prefer a bit of shade and well-drained but moist soil in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-10.
Anemone Blanda types, including sparkling white, pink shades, and this flutter mix are early blooming and look great with other spring bulbs. And don’t forget our Anemone Planting Guide — it can get you going with loads of detailed information.
Early Blooming Hyacinth Bulbs
The hyacinth is one of those instantly recognizable spring bloomers, cheering up early and mid-spring gardens with a lovely sweet fragrance and a host of yummy colors. These bulbs typically grow 10-12” tall with small clusters of flowers along sturdy stems, in shades of pink, blue, purple, red, white, coral, and yellow. Give them full sun to partial shade, well-drained soil, and watch them take off in your garden! USDA Hardiness Zones 4-8.
Try Sweet Berry Mix for a range of luscious rose and white shades, and Hyacinth Fragrant Path Mix with a lively combo of red, purple, white, and yellow flowers Check out our Hyacinth Planting Guide here.
Early Blooming Winter Aconite Bulbs
Winter Aconite bulbs really do bloom in late winter, or very early spring. They have gorgeous buttercup yellow flowers that sit right atop green palm-shaped, low-growing leaves. Hard to find, but easy to grow, these super early bloomers always brighten up the spring garden.
Planting Tip for all early-blooming bulbs: Remember that when these bulbs start to flower, it’s typically before the trees around them have had time to leaf out. So, that part of your garden that is usually shadier in the summer may actually be the ideal location for late winter/early spring flowering bulbs.
- Katie Elzer-Peters