Don’t get me unsuitable, I like tulips and daffodils. Their cherry faces usher in spring with a rush of coloration and enthusiasm, and like most gardeners, I welcome them with open arms. However, I additionally like to incorporate extra uncommon flower bulbs in my backyard, too; ones that you just don’t discover on each nook. These distinctive beauties herald spring in a really totally different manner than a riot of shiny yellow daffodils. As an alternative, these distinctive spring-flowering bulbs supply their unusual magnificence in a manner that’s each refined and curious.
Right this moment, I’d wish to introduce you to a number of of the bizarre flower bulbs that decision my backyard dwelling. All of them are totally hardy right here in my Pennsylvania panorama and take fairly properly to common backyard soil. Finest planted within the fall, these uncommon flower bulbs settle in for a protracted winter’s nap earlier than popping up out of the soil the next spring to provide their beautiful blooms. Most of those bulbs have lived in my backyard for a few years, and yearly their colonies develop, with every bulb producing off-sets that assist the crops unfold.
plant flower bulbs
Earlier than we get to the introductions, I’d wish to shortly share the method I take advantage of to plant all of my spring-blooming bulbs. I plant a whole bunch of bulbs each fall, and I used to do it by hand, digging every particular person gap with a trowel earlier than dropping the bulb into it. However I’ve since come to understand the facility and prowess of utilizing a bulb auger to do the job.
These cool instruments are principally big drill bits that connect to your corded or cordless energy drill. There are long-shafted bulb augers you should utilize from a standing place and short-shafted bulb augers meant for use at floor degree. I’ve used (and liked!) each varieties and extremely advocate them. I used to have the ability to plant about 50 bulbs in two hours by hand, however with a bulb auger, I can plant over 200 bulbs in about an hour, particularly in areas the place the soil is comparatively smooth.
Right here’s a helpful video of how a bulb auger works, if you happen to’d wish to see one in motion.
There are additionally just a few different bulb-planting instruments that I’ve discovered fairly helpful over time, if you happen to don’t have a drill or aren’t fascinated about hauling one open air each autumn. This cool stand-up bulb planter works rather well, as does this all-steel bulb planter. Each are stepped down into the soil after which pulled again out once more to take away a core of earth. The bulb is then dropped into the ready gap, and as you create the following gap, the core of soil is popped out of the highest of the instrument head. It may possibly then be used to fill within the empty bulb gap. It’s a bit extra work than utilizing an auger, however actually requires much less effort than hand-digging every bulb gap.
How deep to plant flower bulbs
As a common rule of thumb, irrespective of the dimensions of the bulb you’re planting and whether or not they’re uncommon flower bulbs or widespread ones, the proper gap depth for every totally different bulb is about two-and-a-half instances as deep because the bulb is tall. So for a two-inch-tall tulip bulb, the right gap depth is about 5 inches deep. Don’t get too caught up on this rule, although, as a result of bulbs are fairly versatile and the planting depth doesn’t must be completely good for them to thrive.
My favourite uncommon flower bulbs
Now, onto the enjoyable half! Listed here are the bizarre flower bulbs I believe you’ll get pleasure from including to your backyard.
Standing simply six to 10 inches tall, Fritillary meleagris, or the checkered lily, is probably not huge, nevertheless it positive is beautiful. The checkered petals on nodding flowers look terrific alongside walkways and on prime of retaining partitions the place they are often seen close-up. They’re a deer-resistant bulb that the chipmunks don’t appear to trouble both. This European native blooms from March till early Might, and I completely adore it.
On the other finish of the peak spectrum from checkered lilies are one other kind of fritillary, Fritillary imperialis, or the crown imperial. These beautiful and strange flower bulbs attain a top of as much as two toes! The hole bulbs are rodent resistant and scent a bit skunky. However, as soon as they’re within the floor, you’ll neglect all in regards to the bulb’s odor solely to concentrate on the tropical beauty of this hanging bulb flower.
Different uncommon Fritillary varieties value rising are the fox grape and the Persian lily.
Should you like to incorporate North American native crops in your backyard, then Camassia quamash is the bulb for you! Generally referred to as blue camas or quamash, these uncommon flower bulbs do very nicely in sunny areas with well-drained, humus-rich soil, they usually unfold simply through seeds. Their tall, blue spikes of flowers look beautiful within the spring and attain a top of fifteen to twenty inches tall. The bulbs have been as soon as used as a meals supply amongst native peoples.
These uncommon flower bulbs are often known as glory-of-the-snow, and the identify is nicely deserved. Although Chionodoxa lucilliae is a local of the Mediterranean area, it does very nicely in my backyard, producing scores of good blue flowers early each spring, usually because the final little bit of snow is melting. With a top of simply three to 5 inches, this diminutive bulb knocks your socks off not with its dimension, however moderately with its coloration and stalwart nature. There’s a pink cultivar, referred to as ‘Violet Magnificence’, that I am keen on virtually as a lot because the blue.
Winter aconite ushers in spring like not one of the different uncommon flower bulbs I point out right here. The yellow burst of coloration from Eranthis hyemalis seems very early, usually in February, and is at all times the very first thing blooming in my backyard yearly. Although winter aconite flowers are solely three or 4 inches excessive, they make me giddy each time I spot their sunny yellow. A member of the buttercup household, this plant is deer resistant and thrives beneath quite a lot of neglect (ask me, I do know!).
One other North American native bulb well-worth rising, the trout lily, Erythronium americium, bears nodding yellow blossoms with recurved petals. Standing ten to 12 inches tall, every flower stalk produces a number of flowers. The thick, shiny inexperienced leaves are pretty even when the plant isn’t in bloom. Trout lilies bloom in April in my backyard, they usually undoubtedly do finest in dense to reasonable shade. In late spring, after flowering ends, the foliage dies again and the plant shifts into dormancy. However don’t let that cease you from rising these uncommon flower bulbs as a result of the springtime present is spectacular.
Spanish bluebells, Hyacinthoides hispanica, are such pretty harbingers of spring. Their straight stems of nodding, bell-shaped flowers stand above strap-like foliage for 3 to 4 weeks within the early spring. These uncommon flower bulbs unfold shortly, forming nice-sized clumps and colonies after just some years time. This plant does finest in woodland or shaded backyard areas with soil wealthy in natural matter, although it’ll additionally develop in common backyard soil with out bother.
The snowflake flower, Leucojum aestivum, at all times surprises me. Not like snowdrops (Galanthus sp.), these guys don’t come into flower till late spring. Their pendulous, skirt-like flowers bloom on foot-tall stalks, they usually make a stunning accompaniment to late tulips and bleeding hearts. They’re so swish trying and can naturalize shortly, particularly if the bulbs are planted in drifts.
Of all the various uncommon flower bulbs on the market, Pushkinia, or striped squill, are undoubtedly close to the highest of my record. And, the bees love them virtually as a lot as I do! Their five-inch-tall spikes of flowers seem in early spring, and every white petal is centered with a stripe of blue. That blue stripe serves as a runway for pollinators who reap the benefits of the early supply of nectar and pollen. A spring-flowering bulb that’s finest appreciated close-up, I like to recommend planting it on the fringe of woodland backyard, walkways, and stepping stone paths.
Sure, I like the enormous blossoms of globe allium and the small, inch-wide flowers of caeruleum blue allium similar to everybody else, however the drumstick allium (Allium sphaerocephalon) is my hands-down favourite. When the two-foot-tall, straight stalks float above the backyard in late spring and early summer season, they at all times catch my eye. The ball-shaped flower clusters are deep purple on prime and typically have a greenish base that disappears because the flowers age. Plus, they’re deer and chipmunk proof, a should for my entrance backyard.
Hardy cyclamen are at all times a shock deal with for gardeners, as a result of in contrast to these different uncommon flower bulbs, Cyclamen cilicicum blooms within the late summer season and fall, moderately than within the spring. Yep, that’s proper: hardy cyclamen strut their stuff late within the season, a time that almost all bulb growers ignore. Hardy to USDA Zone 5, hardy cyclamen thrive in most backyard areas with common soil. Although they’re pretty sluggish rising, with a little bit of persistence and time, they’ll type a stunning colony. Their variegated leaves and pink, recurved flowers are deer resistant, too.
I hope you loved this record of a few of my favourite uncommon flower bulbs and that you just discover the time to tuck some into your backyard this fall. Should you’re , the botanical identify listed within the description of every bulb can be a hyperlink to buy these bulbs from one in all our favourite suppliers. Come spring, I assure you’ll be happy together with your efforts!
What spring-flowering bulbs are your favorites? Inform us about them within the remark part under.
For extra on rising nice bulb crops, try these associated posts:
Foil the squirrels by rising daffodils
Saffon crocus: A spice value rising
What to do with amaryllis bulbs within the fall