18 Favorite Bulb Flowers for Year-Round Color

Count on a variety of bulbs to create a year-long parade of color.
Related To:

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Image courtesy of White Flower Farm

Photo By: Image courtesy of Dig. Drop. Done

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Longfield Gardens

Photo By: Image courtesy of Tesselaar.com

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Lynch Creek Farm

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Reticulated Iris (Iris reticulata)

Easy to overlook, these miniature iris appear in early spring, often when crocus are in flower. The plants are small (6 inches tall at most) but boast big color. Landscape use: Tuck along the edge of planting beds or paths. Plant in groups to help increase visibility. Hardy in Zones 5 to 7.

‘February Gold’ Daffodil (Narcissus ‘February Gold’)

This spring favorite opens its cheery blooms as early as February in Zone 7. Look for flowers from March to mid-spring as you head north. Landscape use: Plant in clumps of six for impact. Use in woodland areas, along border edges or in front of evergreen shrubs. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica)

Bright blue blossoms dangle atop 3- to 6-inch stems. Flowers appear in late February (in warmest zones) to March and provide an early food source for bees. These bulbs naturalize easily to form a blanket of color. Landscape use: Create a living carpet in small lawn areas, beneath trees or in planting beds. Hardy in Zones 2 to 8.

Tulip (Tulipa) and Daffodil (Narcissus)

Classic spring bulbs like tulip and daffodil offer a variety of flower types that open at different points in spring. Plant a mix of bulbs to stage a show that lasts all spring. Landscape use: Create a river of living color by planting tulips and daffodils en masse. Hardiness varies by type, from Zones 3 to 8 for tulips and Zones 4 to 8 for daffodils.

Crown Imperial (Fritillaria imperialis)

Bell-shaped blossoms dangle beneath a tuft of leaves to add a striking, unusual form to the garden. Fritillaria imperialis grows 36 to 48 inches tall and bloom in mid-spring. Lay the hollow-centered bulbs on their sides when planting. Landscape use: Plant in groups of five or more for greatest impact. Hardy in Zones 5 to 8.

‘Globemaster’ Ornamental Onion (Allium ‘Globemaster’)

This 5-foot-tall allium stops traffic when it’s in full bloom. The spherical flower heads offer a long display in the garden, appearing from late spring to early summer. Spent blooms linger well into winter. Landscape use: Plant in front of shrubs, or include in a cottage or cutting garden. Looks best arranged in groups. Hardy in Zones 5 to 8.

Martagon Lily (Lilium martagon)

Flower petals recurve beautifully on this lily, appearing in late spring to early summer, depending on the latitude (later further north). Stems top out around 4 feet and can bear upwards of a dozen flowers each in shades of pink, gold or white. Landscape use: Include in a perennial border or butterfly garden. Hardy in Zones 3 to 8.

‘Lily Allen’ Asiatic Lily (Lilium ‘Lily Allen’)

Striking orange flowers with black blotches on petals steal the show when this Asiatic lily bursts into bloom in early to midsummer. Plants grow to 30 inches tall on sturdy stems that don’t need staking. Landscape use: Include in cottage or cutting gardens. Plant bulbs in groups of three or more. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

‘Stargazer’ Oriental Lily (Lilium ‘Stargazer’)

Eye-catching pink blooms boast white-edged petals and an alluring fragrance. This Oriental lily flowers in mid- to late summer. Flowers unfurl atop stems 3 to 4 feet tall. Landscape use: Tuck into perennial borders or cutting gardens. Hardy in Zones 4 to 9.

‘Sunshine’ Calla Lily (Zantedeschia ‘Sunshine’)

Waxy blossoms unfurl like a ray of living sunshine. Leaves are green with white speckles. Plants top out at 12 to 24 inches and flower in spring in warmer zones and summer in colder regions. Landscape use: Grow in containers where bulbs aren’t hardy, or tuck bulbs along edges of flower borders. Hardy in Zones 9 to 11.

Blue Storm Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus praecox orientalis ‘ATIBlu’)

Beautiful blue flower clusters appear above a strappy tuft of leaves in this tropical bloomer. Blooms appear in spring in zones where plants are hardy and in the height of summer in colder regions. Landscape use: Tuck into containers in cold zones. In zones where it’s hardy, use to edge a patio or path. Hardy in Zones 8 to 10.

Dinner Plate Dahlias (Dahlia hybrids)

Individual flowers on these bloomers typically measure from 8 to 10 inches across. Blossoms start opening in midsummer and continue until frost. Plants top out at 8 to 12 inches and definitely benefit from staking. Landscape use: Include in cutting or cottage gardens. In zones where tubers aren’t hardy, plant where it’s easy to dig tubers in fall. Hardy in Zones 8 to 11.

Rubrum lilies (Lilium speciosum ‘Rubrum’)

Striking white-edged crimson flowers have recurved petals that peel back from the dangling blooms. This is one of the latest flowering lilies, with blossoms appearing from late summer into fall. Expect 10 to 15 flowers per bulb. Stems grow 5 to 7 feet tall but don’t normally need staking. Landscape use: Include in a perennial or butterfly garden. Hardy in Zones 5 to 8.

Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale)

Autumn crocus sends up a tuft of strappy, 10-inch-long leaves in spring, which fade as summer heat arrives. Pink flowers grace the garden in fall. Bulbs need sharp drainage. Landscape use: Tuck into woodland or meadow gardens, or use in areas where fading summer plantings can use a pick-me-up. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

Spider Lily (Lycoris radiata)

Red flowers appear atop naked stems in fall. Leaves sprout after blooms fade and linger through winter. Lycoris radiata grows best in part shade. Landscape use: Mix with perennial ground covers, annuals or perennials. Grow in pots in zones where plants aren’t hardy. Hardy in Zones 6 to 10.

Paperwhite Narcissus (Narcissus tazetta)

Beautiful white blooms boast an outstanding fragrance. These bulbs are usually forced into flower indoors, but you can grow these bulbs outdoors year-round where they’re hardy. In areas where freezing temps rarely occur, grow outdoors in containers or beds for pretty flowers in December. Landscape use: Grow in containers near entries so you can savor the fragrance. Hardy in Zones 8 to 10.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

Tiny in stature but big on beauty, winter aconite opens it golden blossoms as early as February in areas with mild winters. Expect blooms to linger up to 4 weeks. Plants grow 3 to 5 inches tall. Landscape use: Place in planting beds along entry paths so you don’t miss the show. Hardy in Zones 4 to 7.

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

Three-lobed white blossoms surround a green-tipped white central tube. Plants are small, topping out at 6 to 8 inches. In regions with mild winters, plants flower from fall through winter. Landscape use: Tuck along paths so you don’t miss the show. Pair with hardy ground cover Vinca minor for a pretty spring display. Hardy in Zones 3 to 8.