Deer Resistant Spring Blooming Bulbs

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

The Spruce / Autumn Wood

After a tough winter, spring-blooming bulbs are one of the most welcome garden sights. That's why it is all the more disappointing when they are eaten by deer before you get a chance to enjoy them. If tulips are impossible for you to grow successfully, consider planting some of these six spring-blooming bulbs that have been proven extremely deer resistant.

  • 01 of 06

    Allium (Allium sativum)

    A closeup of some Allium
    © Marie Iannotti

    Ornamental onions are among the most deer resistant flowering bulbs. The most commonly known alliums have pom pom like blossoms 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 almost every color and height and their bloom times vary throughout the season. Allium are also rodent resistant.

    • Height: Varies (4 inches - 4 ft.)
    • Bloom Time: Late Spring - Early Summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Hardiness Zones: 4 - 9

    More Tips for Growing Alliums

  • 02 of 06

    Crocus (Crocus sativus)

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

    The bright colors of crocus are a welcome sign that the soil is starting to warm. Crocus will even bloom in the 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 down to collect your mail worth it.

    Crocus are one of the more popular bulbs to grow in the lawn because their foliage fades so quickly.

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

    More Tips for Growing Crocus

  • 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 blues, purples and white, all colors that will blend extremely well with other spring bloomers.

    • Height: 4 - 6 inches
    • Bloom Time: Early Spring
    • Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade
    • Hardiness Zones: 5 - 9
  • 04 of 06

    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, or Early Stardrift, makes a nice addition to the border. It's extremely early and so small it fills in all those spaces where later emerging flowers haven't quite grown in yet, but disappears under them when it starts to fade.

    It's also 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
    • Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade
    • Hardiness Zones 3 - 7
    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Fritillaria (Fritillaria meleagris)

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

    Fritillaria adds a touch of drama to your spring garden. From the dramatic, loud colors of 'Crown Imperial,' to the speckles of 'Guinea Hens' (Fritillaria meleagris) above, to the deep purple of Fritillaria persica and the creamy white 'Ivory Bells,' Fritillaria will be noticed. They look exotic, but they are fuss-free, easy growers. Fritillaria are also rodent resistant.

    • Height: Varies (10 - 24 inches)
    • Bloom Time: Mid-Spring
    • Exposure: Full Sun to Shade
    • 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 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
    • Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade
    • Hardiness Zones: 3 - 9