6 Early Blooming Bulbs for the First Colors of Spring

After a long winter spent indoors, most of us are craving some sunshine and color. Planting early-blooming bulbs in the fall or winter is a great way to prepare for the beginning of spring! Here are some favorite flowers that begin blossoming early in the season.

1. Anemones

Anemone means “daughter of the wind” in Greek, which is why Anemones are also known as Windflowers. There are many different varieties of Anemone, but if you’re looking for some early spring color, the “Blue Shade” Anemone blanda is your best bet. These hardy perennials are perfect for providing low ground cover with delicate, fern-like foliage and stunning daisy-shaped flowers in blue and purple.

They do best when planted in groupings of about 20, in partial shade such as at the base of summer-blooming trees. Anemones are deer and rabbit resistant, so if you plant them around the perimeter of a garden bed, they can act as a deterrent while providing a colorful border.

2. Crocus

Crocuses are among the earliest bloomers in the Northern Hemisphere, with many varieties providing beautiful color as early as February. 21 types of Crocuses bloom in late winter or early spring, with colors ranging from soft white to vibrant purple, though the golden yellow varieties are most common.

Different varieties of Crocus will thrive in different hardiness zones, so it’s important to do some research before choosing the right one for your garden.

3. Galanthus

The common name for Galanthus is “Snowdrops,” both because of their nodding white petals and because of their growing season. All varieties of Galanthus blossom in winter or early spring, and they’re resistant to frost even while in full bloom.  Their delicate white flowerheads sit atop tall, slender stems, giving them a graceful bearing and adding an air of elegance to garden beds and lawns.

Galanthus do best when planted in clumps or drifts in full sun or partial shade, and they prefer colder climates.

4. Muscari

Muscari, also known as Grape Hyacinths, are among the most fragrant early spring flowers. These hardy, easy to grow bulbs produce clusters of bell-shaped blossoms in white, blue, purple, or pink, depending on the species. Muscari can also be used for a variety of purposes, as they don’t require much space, so they’re great for containers or flower beds as well as in lawns or borders. They’re commonly seen in spring bouquets, as their tall stems and showy blossoms are perfect for cut flower arrangements.

Muscari can grow in almost any hardiness zone, as long as they have well-drained soil and full or partial sunlight.

5. Narcissus

Most people know Narcissus by the common name, Daffodil. They are one of the most popular genera of spring flowers and are often paired with tulips to provide early spring gardens with warm yellow, orange, and red blossoms.

There are dozens of varieties of Narcissus, with most maintaining the famous trumpet-shaped flowers atop tall stems and bladed leaves. However, if you’re looking for something more diverse, there are species such as the Ziva or Tazetta Daffodil that come in different shapes and colors. Most early spring varieties of Narcissus are easy to grow and thrive in many climates.

6. Tulipa

Last but certainly not least, Tulips are a spring staple in many gardens. There are thousands of varieties of Tulipa, but the ones most commonly seen in early spring are Botanical Tulips. They come in many shapes and sizes, and they bloom quickly after sprouting, usually in the first few weeks of spring. Most Tulipa are easily recognizable by their tall, slender stems and egg-shaped blooms, coming in a wide selection of vibrant colors such as red, orange, yellow, and pink.

Early Tulips tend to prefer full sun and rich soil, and you can plant them anywhere you need a bold dash of color!