We've put together the ultimate spring flowering bulbs list, so you can bask in a garden bursting with beautiful blooms as soon as the sunshine appears.
As much as it feels like it, gardening doesn't stop with the end of summer. September to November is the best time to put spring flowering bulbs into the ground for a dazzling spring spectacle.
While in the cold ground, your spring bulbs gather the energy they need to burst from the soil, so don't think you can get away with panic-planting them in the new year!
Here are my absolutely biased top 10 favourite spring flowering bulbs to grow in the UK and a few tips on how to care for them:
Tulip bulbs (Tulipa)
Surely I don't have to introduce Tulips, right? Instead, let me drop some fun facts here. Did you know that:
- Tulips originate from central Asia.
- There more than 3,000 varieties of Tulips.
- Their petals are edible.
- Tulips prefer sandy soil.
- You can leave planting to the end of the season, from November to December.
- Plant Tulips 10 to 15 cms away from each other.
- They don't like overly wet environments, so make sure to only give them extra water if there is a drought.
Alliums are yet another spring flowering bulb which helps you add some height and texture to your planting. This bulb had striking round flowers that you have definitely seen before. They are not only stunning when flowering, but make excellent dried flowers after they have gone to seed.
- You can plant Alliums a bit later, October to November.
- Make sure you plant them in a sheltered place as the flowers are on a long spike and are fragile.
- Their leaves die off when they are flowering, so make sure you plant them amongst lots of foliage for a nicer design.
Hyacinths bulbs (Hyacinthus)
I will be honest; whenever I walk past a patch of Hyacinths, I can't help but stop and linger in the sweet scents this flower gives off. It somehow reminds me of my childhood and Christmas at the same time (it is a popular bulb to force indoors around the winter holidays after all).
- Plant Hyacinths before the first fall frost.
- Use gloves, as the bulbs can irritate the skin!
- They are happy in partial shade or full sun.
- Plant them at least 8 cms from each other.
- Make sure they are not overwatered, they don't like wet feet.
Daffodils bulbs (Narcissus)
Daffodils are my favourite heralds of spring. They come in so many shapes and sizes (and a couple of different colours as well), and they can flower as early as February. They are pretty reliable, coming back year after year and are a sure sign spring is on its way.
- Daffodils prefer a sunny spot with well-draining soil.
- Plant them deep enough - ideally three times the bulb's height.
- They are not too fussy, but if your spring bulbs are not flowering it can be a sign of Daffodil blindness.
Sicilian Honey bulbs (Nectaroscordum)
Otherwise known as Sicilian Honey, Nectaroscordum is part of the onion family. This exotic looking bulb will add some height and texture to your garden, as it can grow over 1.2 metres tall! They are a hit with pollinators as well, ensuring your bees are happy and well-fed.
- Plant them in September or October.
- Plant them at least 15 cms apart from each other.
- Prefers a sunny border and well-draining soil.
- The dried seedheads can be used in flower arrangements.
Grape Hyacinth bulbs (Muscari)
Muscari or Grape Hyacinth is a delicate little flower and one of the most popular spring flowering bulbs out there. This bijou plant will only grow to around 20 centimetres tall, so plant a few together for maximum impact. Their "grapeness" comes from the "egg-shaped" flowers that emerge in the spring. Maybe someone tried to make wine out of them once? We will never know.
- Muscari is a pretty easy plant to take care of once it's in the ground.
- They like full sun.
- Plant them in September to October for flowers in April to May.
- They can spread quite a lot, and you can divide them after their peak time.
Fritillaries bulbs (Fritillaria)
Adding Fritillaries to your garden will make it truly magical. They have distinctively shaped flowers, with one of the best-known varieties sporting a pattern that looks like something out of a fairytale.
- Always check the packaging for light and soil requirements - growing conditions for Fritillaries vary by type.
- They can be grown from seed, or you can divide established clumps.
- Check how high your Fritillaries will grow! This, again, can vary a lot depending on the variety.
Camassi is one of the longer lasting spring flowering bulbs you can get. Not to mention these spiky purple flowers make excellent cut flowers.
- Grow them in humus-rich soil.
- They should be sheltered from extreme winds and weather conditions.
- Plant them 8 to 10 cm away from each other.
Spring Flowering Crocus bulbs
Yet another early herald of spring is the dainty Crocus. They provide valuable early food for insects and bees, making them great for wildlife. Did you know that while we call them Crocus bulbs, they are technically corms?
Crocus bulb care
- Like many of the other bulbs, Crocus care is pretty easy.
- Plant them early in the Autumn.
- They like to be basking in the full sun if possible.
- You can plant different varieties to extend bloom time.
Last but not least is the iconic Bluebell. Who hasn't dreamed about visiting the woodlands in the spring just to bask in the glory of Bluebell fields upon Bluebell fields?
Fun fact: these little bell-shaped flowers are a close relative to the beloved Hyacinths!
- They like to be in partial shade, such as under trees or bushes.
- Make sure to plant them 10 to 12 cms apart.
- Remove the faded flower spikes before they set seed to prevent the plants self-seeding and spreading where they aren’t wanted.
Find more spring flowering bulb inspiration here. Wondering what to do with spring bulbs after flowering or when to lift and divide bulbs? Read this next.
Learn how to make a beautiful indoor bulb planter in the video below.