Spring bulbs add bursts of colour to a garden just waking up. It seems far away but the right time to plant them is now. Begin planting between October and December before the coldest weather sets in. It may feel cold outside but the soil has warmed up over the summer and it’s damp with Autumn rain. This means the soil is just right for planting.
Here is my top 10 review of the most striking spring bulbs. You can order them all from Amazon or find them in your local garden centre.
The top 10 spring bulbs for maximum impact
- Grape hyacinths available from Etsy
Grape hyacinths (Muscari) are very reliable and easy to grow. They need no special care and flower freely. They have bright blue flower spikes up to 20cm in late spring and prefer full sun.
- Winter aconties available from Etsy
Winter aconties (Eranthi hyemalis) are members of the buttercup family and are ideal for groundcover. They form a carpet of golden yellow flowers each spring, so beneficial to pollinating insects. They prefer sun or the dappled shade under trees and look good naturalised in areas of grass. Their height is only 8 cm with a spreac of 5 cm.
- Dwarf tulips Red Riding Hood available from Crocus
Dwarf tulips are perfect for bedding out or planting in containers. They are the best choice for exposed sites where wind may damage taller varieties.
Scarlet flowers with black centres appear above purple-striped grey-green leaves. They can be left in the ground for several years unlike most varieties that need to be lifted and stored until the next planting season. Red Riding Hood has recieved the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
- English Bluebells available from Crocus
Carpets of bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are a glorious sight in British spring woodlands. They are also wonderful plants for the garden. They flower April–June and reach a height of 30 cm. Bluebells are easy to grow in sun or partial shade in moist but well-drained soil. The English bluebell is declining due to hybridisation with the more vigorous Spanish bluebell so please try to give them some space in your garden.
- Dwarf daffodils Tête-à-tête available from Crocus
The dwarf daffodil Tête-à-tête produces clusters of up to three golden-yellow flowers with dainty reflexed petals. It makes a beautiful early spring display in March or April.
- Snake’s Head Fritillaries available from Etsy
Snake’s Head Fritillaries (Fritillaria meleagris) are a native wildflower with unmistakable bell-shaped flowers that grow up to 30cm. They are very hardy and prefer full sun or partial shade in well-drained soil. They look good in drifts around shrubs or naturalised in grass. The Royal Horticultural Society has given Snake’s Head Fritillaries its Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
- Dwarf iris reticulata available from Etsy
Iris reticulata is a dwarf iris bulb with beautiful two-tone blue flowers, attractive to bees and butterflies and other pollinating insects. They are ideal for containers or at the front of a border or rockery. They flower February–March and grow to a height of 12–15 cm.
- Fritillaria Uva Vulpis available from Crocus
Fritillaria Uva Vulpis (fox grape) prefer full sun in a sheltered spot with good drainage. The stunning bell-shaped flowers appear in March–April and reach a height of 26 cm.
- Narcissus Toto available from Crocus
The flowers of this miniature daffodil appear two or three at a time on each stem. When the flowers first appear the cup is yellow but this fades to cream to match the petals that surround it.
- Snowdrops available from Etsy
Snowdrops (Galanthus) flower early in the year, often in the height of winter so they are among the most valuable plants for pollinating insects. The white nodding flowers often have distinctive green markings. They prefer moist but well-drained soil in dappled shade.
Keep it dwarf to avoid the flop 🙂
Native but looks so exotic
These 10 spring bulbs will add the burst of colour to your garden that lets you know a new season has begun. It might be dark and dreary now but plan ahead because it won’t always be like that… Bulbs are a priority but take a moment to look at other Autumn garden jobs you should be getting done.
Happy planting 🙂
You can find all these bulbs and many more plants suited to UK gardens in this Pinterest board.