Springtime flowering bulbs get a lot of attention, but there are bulbs that bloom in summer and autumn, too. Flowering bulbs, which are planted individually and may be annuals, biennials, or perennials, produce a wide variety of blooms and foliage. Bulbs work beautifully in flower beds or containers, and can be used to accent other plants or make a stunning statement when grouped together. Choosing the right flowering spring, summer, and autumn bulb for your yard is now even easier: The Better Homes and Gardens Plant Encyclopedia allows you to search bulbs by size or season, as well as problem-solving uses. Information for each bulb will help you learn about hardiness zone, sun or shade requirements, other special features, and planting suggestions. View a list of bulbs by common name or scientific name below.

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Winter Aconite

Celebrate the end of cold weather with winter aconite, one of the first blooming plants you’ll see in your yard before spring actually arrives. It sometimes appears so early (before crocus!) that the buttercup-like flowers burst up and out of the snow. This plant catches the eye in beds and borders, along pathways, and when mixed with crocus and other ephemerals in the lawn.


Squill announces a new garden season with bursts of dark green grasslike foliage. The leaves seem to emerge overnight in early spring. The tufts of foliage are quickly followed by arching flower stalks that support one to three nodding blue or white flowers. These tiny blossoms decorate the garden for two to three weeks and, when planted in large masses, they can be enjoyed from a distance. A welcome early-season nectar source for bees and insects, squill—also called Siberian squill—attracts winged visitors with its sweet fragrance.

Daffodil, split-cup hybrids

Split-cup daffodils are so named because varieties in this division have a central cup that's cut -- usually for more than half its length. They are sometimes called butterfly daffodils because the split sections of the cup fold back against the petals, resembling spread butterfly wings.

In other respects, split-cup daffodils resemble standard trumpet or large-cup daffodils. They bear one flower per stem and come in the full range of daffodil colors: white, yellow, pink, orange, and bicolor. Some varieties are fragrant, and all are resistant to deer and rabbit damage.

Spanish Bluebell

With strappy leaves and clusters of elegant lavender-blue flowers, Spanish bluebell blossoms dangle from spikes, adding a casual look to garden beds or borders. These pendant-style bells flourish under trees or shrubs or in shady borders, where early spring color is at a premium. Spanish bluebells have a loose, informal growth habit and more delicate appearance than their cousins, the hybrid hyacinths. Plant them in any well-drained soil and watch them take off.

Spanish bluebells tolerate shade, flourishing under trees or shrubs or in shady plantings alongside other spring-blooming bulbs. When they’re happy, these cheerful little bulbs can self-seed abundantly, forming large colonies in just a few years. They make delightful companions for early-blooming perennials and shrubs such as hellebore and azalea.


Spider Lily

The blooms appear on bare stems with no leaves present, which has earned this hardy bulb common names like "naked lady" and "surprise lily."

Society Garlic

Try it in rock gardens, sunny borders, herb gardens, and containers.

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Daffodil, Small-Cup Hybrids

Small-cup daffodils possess all the same qualities as large-cup and trumpet daffodils with the difference being the size of their cups. To be classified as a small-cup daffodil, the cup (aka corona) must be less than one-third the length of the petals. Most small-cup daffodils bear only one flower per stem. Ranging from miniature daffodils standing 6 inches tall to those that tower 24 inches or more in the spring garden, these pretty plants look at home throughout the landscape. Small-cup daffodils often emit a lovely fragrance.


A traditional herald of spring, the common snowdrop has become glamorous, with many new forms available. It's no wonder -- this classic offers nodding white bells, dotted and underskirted with green and hanging from arching stems. They have a light, sweet fragrance. Snowdrops are very easy to grow, requiring only a well-drained soil. They prefer a shaded location and will spread naturally within a few years.

Tulip, waterlily hybrids

Waterlily tulips are early-spring bloomers that get their common name from their resemblance to the blooms of waterlilies when their flowers are fully open. Also listed as Kaufmanniana tulips, the stems are quite short and sturdy, reaching only 4-10 inches tall. This characteristic makes them ideal for exposed sites or container gardens.

The foliage of waterlily tulips is either blue-green or mottled with deep maroon or brownish stripes. Plants perennialize well.

Shown above: Heart's Delight tulip