Deer Resistant Spring Blooming Bulbs to Grow

Fritillaria plant with purple-spotted pink flower on thin stems closeup

The Spruce / Autumn Wood

After a tough, long winter, spring-blooming bulbs are a very welcome sight. That's why it is all the more disappointing when your bulbs, especially tulips, are eaten by deer before you get a chance to enjoy them. If tulips are impossible for you to grow because of deer grazing on them, consider planting some of these spring-blooming bulbs that have been proven to be extremely deer resistant.

  • 01 of 06

    Allium (Allium sativum)

    A closeup of some Allium
    © Marie Iannotti

    Alliums, also known as ornamental onions, are among the most deer resistant spring flowering bulbs. The most commonly known alliums have globe-shaped blooms, on top of single, straight stalks. However, there is a fair amount of variation in the species. Allium schubertii looks like a fireworks sparkler. Others, like Allium unifolium and Allium bulgaricum, are bell-shaped.

    You can find alliums in various heights and colors; most common blooms are shades of purple, blue, lavender, pink, and white. Bloom times vary throughout the season. Alliums are also rodent resistant.

  • 02 of 06

    Crocus (Crocus sativus)

    A patch of Crocus flowers
    Patrick Grigutsch / EyeEm / Getty Images

    The bright colors of crocus are a sure sign that the soil is starting to warm up. Crocus will even bloom while covered in snow if the soil below has started to thaw. This versatile little spreader can be used as a ground cover or as a color accent. Plant a few by your mailbox to make the walk to collect your mail worth it.

    Crocus are one of the more popular bulbs to naturalize in the lawn because their foliage fades before mowing starts. Although they are deer resistant, crocus are not rabbit resistant. It's quite common for rabbits to dine on the tender bulb foliage even before the flowers have a chance to form.

    • Height: 4 inches
    • Bloom Time: Early spring
    • Light: Full sun to partial shade
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 - 9
  • 03 of 06

    Dwarf Iris (Iris reticulata)

    A small collection of dwarf iruses

    Martin Stone / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    With Iris reticulata, you get the familiar iris flower on a low growing, spreading plant that blooms early in the season. What's not to like? They are somewhat slow to spread but eventually form a delicate carpet of strappy leaves and ground-carpeting flowers.

    You can find dwarf iris in shades of blue, purple and white, all colors that will blend extremely well with other spring bloomers.

    • Height: 4 - 6 inches
    • Bloom Time: Early spring
    • Light: Full sun to partial shade
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 - 9
  • 04 of 06

    Striped Squill (Puschkinia libanotica)

    a small cluster of puschkinia libanotica

    Maria Mosolova / Getty Images

    Here's another of Spring's blue offerings, this time in a pastel powder blue. Puschkinia, commonly known as striped squill, makes a nice addition to the front of a border. It's an extremely early bloomer and is so small that it fills in all those spaces where later-emerging plants haven't quite grown in yet. The faded blooms and foliage easily disappears under the other plants around them

    Striped squill is a great choice for naturalizing, either in a woodland area, under trees, along walkways, or in the lawn.

    • Height: 4 - 6 inches
    • Bloom Time: Early spring
    • Light: Full sun to partial shade
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-8
    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06


    a close-up of fritillaria meleagris
    David Dixon / Getty Images

    Bulbs in the Fritillaria genus add a touch of drama to your spring garden. Fritillaria will be noticed. They look exotic, but they are fuss-free, easy growers, and they are deer and rodent resistant.

    Fritillaria imperialis (crown imperial) grows three to four feet tall and its blooms are a cluster of yellow, cream or red-orange bells below a spiky green topknot. Fritillaria meleagris (snakehead or checkered lily, pictured here) has delicate bell-like checkered purple flowers that dangle from 10 to 12 inch grass-like, slender stems. Fritillaria persica (Persian lily) produces up to 30 bell-shaped, grayish-dark purple blooms borne on a stiff, thick stem one to three feet tall.

    • Height: Varies (10 - 48 inches)
    • Bloom Time: Mid-spring
    • Light: Full sun to partial shade
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 - 9
  • 06 of 06

    Glory of the Snow (Chinodoxa forbesii)

    A closeup of some glory of the snow (chinodoxa)
    Audrey / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Similar to Scilla siberica, glory of the snow, also known as early snow glory, works best as a ground cover or naturalized in the lawn. Each bulb provides multiple blue, star-shaped blossoms with white centers, which start to bloom as the snow is melting. Don't be surprised to find them in a new spot in the yard every year, as the older clumps continue to spread. As with most small bulbs, they disappear long before their foliage starts to look bedraggled.

    • Height: 4 - 8 inches
    • Bloom Time: Early Spring
    • Light: Full Sun to Partial Shade
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 - 9