Flower bulbs are an attractive option to gardeners for many reasons. Gardeners love choices and the world of flower bulbs is vast – there are literally thousands of varieties out there featuring an unparalleled assortment of color, shape, fragrance and plant height. With the right combination of flowering bulbs, you can coordinate your garden to bloom almost year-round with the knowledge of each flower bulb’s specific planting and bloom time.
Furthermore, flowering bulbs have a well-deserved reputation for producing some of the world’s most bold, vibrant, and spectacular flowers. Not to mention they are very easy to grow, easy to care for and, in many cases, will reward you with blooms for several years in a row! Read on to discover our top 5 choices for interesting flower bulbs in the garden.
1. Alliums (USDA Hardiness Zone 4-9). Bring some fun and whimsy to your garden with alliums. With their dense balls of color atop long sturdy stems, it’s like having a field of lollipops in your backyard. And with over 400 species of allium, you have a choice of plants with globe shaped flower heads ranging from the size of ping pong balls to bowling balls and heights ranging from 5 inches (13 cm.) to 5 feet (1.5 m.) in varying shades of white, pink, purple, yellow and blue.
2. Parrot Tulips (USDA Hardiness Zone 4-7). Parrot tulips are a great option for those living in cold temperate climates who seek to bring some exotic tropical flair to their gardens. This cup-shaped flower is aptly named because it does resemble a parrot’s plumage with feather-like petals that are fringed, ruffled and scalloped in varying degrees, depending on the variety. This tulip is sure to bring a splash of color to your garden as it is available in a mix of bright brilliant colors including red, yellow, orange, pink, green, and violet.
3. Snake’s Head Fritillary (USDA Hardiness Zone 4-7). I have to admit, I’m terrified of snakes but I’m glad I didn’t let this ominously named plant deter me from adding it to my garden space. The snake’s head plant (Fritillaria meleagris) features nodding, maroon (occasionally pure white) bell-shaped blooms atop slender stems. The maroon flowers are imprinted with a very unique checkerboard pattern. My first thought when I saw these flowers was that they were very Alice in Wonderland-esque and, as it turns out, they are recommended to put in a children’s storybook garden.
4. Spider Lilies (USDA Hardiness Zone 5-10). Ok, I’m afraid of spiders too, but there’s nothing like meeting your fears head on, right? But, just for argument’s sake, let’s just refer to it by its alternate names, hurricane or surprise lily, shall we? Also known simply as Lycoris lily, this plant is a great way to bring some tropical cheer (or fear in my case) to your landscape with its yellow-orange or red-orange wispy spider-shaped blossoms atop 1- to 2-foot (.30-.60 m.) tall stems.
5. Ranunculus Buttercups (USDA Hardiness Zone 8-10). Anything with the name of buttercup is alright in my book; however, these, unfortunately, aren’t the type of buttercups you can eat. They are, however, luscious eye candy, with their tightly clustered multi-petaled flowers. Ranunculus buttercups are available in a wide color spectrum including white, red, orange, yellow and pink and can grow up to 8-12 inches (20-30 cm.) in height depending on the variety.