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Recommended Fall-Planted, Spring-Flowering Bulbs

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Original post by Charlotte Glen, Update by Matt Jones

Chatham County’s Extension Master GardenerSM volunteers recommend the following bulb varieties for naturalizing in local landscapes. Bulbs that naturalize are perennials that return and multiply year after year, making them a good investment of your planting time and landscape budget. Order these bulbs during our Fall Bulb Sale!

crocus blossoms
Crocus tommasinianus – Tommies

Tommies are a squirrel resistant species of Crocus that is longer lived than most spring blooming crocus. They bloom from 3” to 6” tall so can be planted in your lawn since they bloom before grass cutting begins. A couple of favorite varieties are ‘Barr’s Purple’ and ‘Ruby Giant’.
star flower
Iphieon uniflorum – Star Flower

Star Flower is another short, spring bloomer that can be planted in the lawn. They are rarely bothered by deer or squirrels. ‘Jesse’ is a recommended deep blue variety, pictured above. ‘Tessa’ is a pollinator attractor with pink flowers and sweet fragrance.
Summer snowflake
Leucojum aestivum – Snowflake

With its green-tipped, white lily of the valley shaped blossoms, Snowflake is a lovely companion to late blooming varieties of yellow daffodils. One of the few bulbs that tolerates moist soil and less than perfect drainage. Deer resistant.
grape hyacinth
Muscari neglectum – Blue Bottles, Grape Hyacinth

Muscari neglectum is a short sweet smelling grape hyacinth species recommended for southern gardens. It bears dark purple blooms with white rims. Muscari neglectum bulbs naturalize but are not deer resistant.
Narcissus – Daffodils

Nothing says spring like daffodils! ‘Saint Keverne’ and ‘Carlton’ are large-flowered yellow varieties recommended for naturalizing. For a splash of yellow in February, try ‘February Gold’ (all yellow) or ‘Jack Snipe’ (yellow cup with white petals) both of which are shorter than later blooming varieties. Also dependable are the varieties sometimes referred to as jonquils, which bear fragrant clusters of small flowers resembling paper whites. Recommended selections include ‘Sweetness’, ‘Minnow’, and ‘Avalanche’. Neither deer nor squirrels are attracted to daffodils.
Lady tulip
Tulipa clusiana – Lady Tulips

The smaller and shorter species tulips naturalize much better than large-flowered Dutch hybrids. For perennial tulips, try Tulipa clusiana, Lady Tulips. The variety ‘Cynthia’ has red petals edged with chartreuse and is a favorite of our Chatham County Extension Horticulture Agent.

Many other fall-planted bulbs will be stunning next spring, but may not naturalize as well as those listed above.

NOTE: There is no need to purchase precooled bulbs – as long as bulbs are planted by early December, our winter will do the cooling for you!

Written By

Matt Jones, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionMatt JonesExtension Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Ornamental and Consumer Horticulture Call Matt Email Matt N.C. Cooperative Extension, Chatham County Center
Page Last Updated: 4 years ago
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