Editors' Picks: Best Spring-Blooming Bulbs
It's easy to fall in love with 'Thalia', so it's no wonder this outstanding heirloom from 1916 is still popular today. Graced by lovely pure-white flowers and a sensuous fragrance, 'Thalia' reliably comes back year after year. Plus, even the hungriest deer and rabbits pass it by in search of tastier treats. In addition, it's a great cut flower.
Name: Narcissus 'Thalia'
When asked why it's a favorite, the BHG garden group editor in chief said, "What can't you say about this plant?" It's supereasy to grow, spreads over time, and displays true-blue color. A great choice for mixing in the lawn for a dose of early-spring interest, Siberian squill even thrives in shade. It's truly a plant-it-and-forget-it bulb.
Name: Scilla sibirica
'Jack Snipe' Daffodil
Garden experts around the country applaud 'Jack Snipe'; this cheery little daffodil bursts forth with yellow-and-white flowers. It's a vigorous grower that pops up early, produces lots of blooms, and features elegant, swept-back petals.
Name: Narcissus 'Jack Snipe'
'Tete a Tete' Daffodil
One of the earliest daffodils, 'Tete a Tete' creates a carpet of gold in early spring. This miniature variety bears several flowers per stem and looks great with purple crocuses. It's long-lived and pestproof, too.
Name: Narcissus 'Tete a Tete'
'Baby Moon' Daffodil
While 'Baby Moon' looks delicate, it's a tough plant -- and furry critters don't want to eat it. It blooms in shade, and its tiny yellow flowers pack quite a fragrance.
Name: Narcissus 'Baby Moon'
With warm colors reminiscent of the tropical island that shares its name, 'Tahiti' is an ideal plant for welcoming spring. It bears fully double blooms in shades of yellow, orange, and red. It multiplies over time, too, putting on a better show every year.
Name: Narcissus 'Tahiti'
A stunning split-cup daffodil, 'Cassata' bears white petals and a yellow cup that fades to a sumptuous shade of creamy yellow. Its split cup gives it a distinct butterfly appearance. Like other daffodils, it's long-lived and makes a great cut flower.
Name: Narcissus 'Cassata'
'Pink Charm' Daffodil
Besides the yellows, whites, and oranges commonly seen in daffodils, there are also exquisite pinks and peaches, such as 'Pink Charm', which features white petals and an ivory cup broadly ringed in coral pink.
Name: Narcissus 'Pink Charm'
This charming daffodil offers big white petals and a tiny but intensely colored yellow cup ringed in red. It also features a rich spicy scent.
Name: Narcissus 'Actaea'
One of spring's most recognizable bulbs, 'Globemaster' looks like a big purple lollipop. It's a perfect partner for peonies and roses -- which hide its fading foliage after blooming. Deer, rabbits, and other critters avoid alliums.
Name: Allium 'Globemaster'
'Purple Sensation' Allium
One of the stars in late spring in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden, 'Purple Sensation' bears bold violet-purple flower heads atop 3-foot stems. This variety is an excellent cut flower. Or leave it in the garden to dry and then use the seed heads in fall crafts projects.
Name: Allium aflatunense 'Purple Sensation'
'Spring Green' Tulip
A late-spring stunner, 'Spring Green' offers creamy-white flowers boldly feathered in green. It creates a bright spot in the garden and looks wonderful with white-variegated hostas or brunnera.
Name: Tulipa 'Spring Green'
'Queen of the Night' Tulip
Dark and moody, 'Queen of the Night' bears good-size blooms in midspring. Pair it with light-color tulips for a bold look.
Name: Tulipa 'Queen of the Night'
'White Triumphator' Tulip
A classic lily-flowering tulip from 1942, 'White Triumphator' is popular today thanks to its gracefully shaped, long-lasting ivory-white flowers. Its white color looks stunning alongside any plant.
Name: Tulipa 'White Triumphator'
A favorite of many springtime visitors to the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden®, 'Fusilier' is great for naturalizing putting on a better show each year. The flowers are an intense reddish orange with several blooms per stem.
Name: Tulipa praestans 'Fusilier'
You can count on this wild tulip to come back every year, no matter how dry the summer or how cold the winter. Each stem bears numerous pale yellow flowers that look like butterflies dancing in a breeze.
Name: Tulipa turkestanica
This unique dwarf tulip produces yellow petals with broad tips that look as if they've been dipped in farm-fresh cream. A wild-type tulip, it is a true perennial and is perfect for borders and rock gardens.
Name: Tulipa tarda
This tulip is a demure, delicate pink in evening and early morning when blooms close tightly, but bold, brassy red-orange in full sun when flowers are fully open, 'Toronto' has a colorful split personality. In addition to its color-shifting blossoms, this early-blooming species tulip has attractive blue-green foliage with maroon stripes.
Name: Tulipa greigii 'Toronto'
'Lilac Wonder' Tulip
This little gem is a long-lived wild-type tulip. It bears small lilac-pink flowers with bright golden-yellow centers, and its demure size makes it perfect for tucking at the front of a border or along patios and sidewalks where you'll be sure to see it in spring.
Name: Tulipa bakeri 'Lilac Wonder'
It may be a little tough to find, but blue-eyed tulip is definitely worth growing. This wild-type variety has starry white flowers with a pure blue blotch at the centers. Though long-lived, it tends to be slow growing.
Name: Tulipa humilis 'Alba Coerulea Oculata'
Most spring-blooming bulbs need well-drained soil to thrive, but camassia doesn't mind wet feet. This late-spring bloomer offers spikes in shades of deep blue and purple and is a perfect complement to alliums and peonies. Native to West Coast areas, it comes back reliably every year.
Name: Camassia cusickii
After a long winter, the first bulb to flower is often a favorite bulb -- and crocus usually wins. 'Goldilocks' offers delightful deep yellow flowers in early spring, sometimes before the snow has melted.
Name: Crocus chrysanthus 'Goldilocks'
One of the first flowers to bloom in spring, 'Harmony' is an especially beautiful variety. Each fall has a white patch and is speckled violet-blue with a dark yellow tongue stripe along its center. The classic fleur-de-lis flower form looks good with any other plant.
Name: Iris reticulata 'Harmony'
We admire tenacious little snowdrop's get-up-and-go -- after all, it can't be easy waking up so early in spring. This bulb produces nodding white flowers that resemble a flock of tiny white doves when they emerge from barely thawed earth in late winter and early spring.
Name: Galanthus nivalis
Celebrate spring with grape hyacinth's beautiful blue bells. In addition to great color, this easy-growing bulb offers sweetly fragrant flowers. And it naturally pushes up foliage in fall -- helping you remember where you planted it.
Name: Muscari armeniacum
Peter Stuyvesant Hyacinth
Offering spring's sweetest fragrance, 'Peter Stuyvesant' bears clusters of deep blue-purple flowers. It looks especially stunning mixed with smaller grape hyacinths or white tulips and daffodils.
Name: Hyacinthus 'Peter Stuyvesant'
Glory of the Snow
A perfect bulb for naturalizing, glory-of-the-snow creates a bigger colony every year. It blooms in early spring with starry, long-lasting blue flowers. It's an ideal choice for growing with groundcovers such as vinca, lamium, or epimedium.
Name: Chionodoxa forbesii
Tulip 'Red Bouquet'
This multiflowering tulip puts on a big show because each stem holds several beautiful scarlet-red blooms decorated with a bright yellow base. As its name suggests, 'Red Bouquet' is perfect for cutting.
Name: Tulipa 'Red Bouquet'