For gardeners who've been waiting all winter to see green again, nothing is more welcome than the sight of early spring flowers. And few plants are as easy to grow as spring-blooming bulbs. You plant them in the fall and wait. The hard part is being patient.
Spring-blooming bulbs start growing almost immediately. They send down roots in the fall and can continue growing, although at a slower rate, throughout the winter. That's why it's so important to get them off to a good start. Choose a site that will get plenty of sunshine in the spring. Add a little organic matter and some bulb food or bone meal at planting time. And make sure you keep them watered until the ground freezes.
01 of 06
There are more than 80 species of crocus, but most people plant a mix of hybrids without really thinking about it. The hybrids tend to be a little larger and bloom a little later. However, they are still one of the earliest flowers to appear in the spring, often getting snowed on.
Crocus is a wonderful choice for naturalizing or planting in lawns. They are also incredibly easy to grow or force in containers.
02 of 06
Daffodils (Narcissus) have so many wonderful qualities to them. They live longer than you will, with a lot less care. Deer and rodents don't touch them. They come in luscious shades of yellow, cream, and pink, and many are fragrant. There are even daffodils that don't require cold weather to set blooms.
03 of 06
The big, puffy flower heads of hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis) are made up of dozens of small, fragrant, tubular flowers. Hyacinths are in the lily family. Take a look at each one individually, smell its overwhelming perfume, and you're bound to notice a family resemblance.
Hyacinth flowers come in colors that many other bulbs do not, so it's nice that they bloom in time to mix with daffodils and tulips.
04 of 06
It's hard to miss a naturalized drift of blue Siberian squill (Scilla siberica) in the spring. Plant them where they'll have plenty of room to roam—because they will. Luckily the foliage is low and wispy, so you won't have to watch it fade away for weeks after the flowers disappear.
Plant them in the lawn, along paths, under trees, and in rock gardens, and watch your yard turn into a river of blue.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
How can you not love a plant that pushes it's way up through snow-covered ground? Snowdrops (Galanthus) look deceptively dainty. They can take cold winds and icy temperatures and keep on blooming.
They are very long-lived, and while they tend to be well-behaved clump-formers, they also spread by seed, and you'll find them popping up in surprising places.
06 of 06
Is there a flower that comes in more bright and cheery colors than tulips? Plan it right, and you can get three months' worth of bloom time from them. The earliest varieties will start blooming in March.
The latecomers will mingle with columbines and bleeding hearts—that is, if you can protect them from the deer, squirrels, and all the other animals attracted by their tasty petals.