From the common and well known Daffodills, Tulips, Hyacinths, Jonquils and Freesias to the unusual Trilliums and Erythroniums, spring bulbs are a gardeners dream.
In Australia we are lucky to be able to grow a wide range of bulbs in the garden, as winter leaves us the garden bursts into life with early but lots of other bulbs can be grown that will provide us with flowers in the spring, some early and some late.
Even within the well know varieties, some species are are, for example with Daffodils you can look for the Hoop Petticoat types, very attractive flowers, unusual and eye catching.
Choosing Bulbs for Spring Flowers
Of the unusual or rarer bulbs Trilliums are wonderful for flowers early in spring, usually in the first months of October, fantastic foliage and great flowers in a woodland setting. Erythronium (Trout Lily) are also showing their nodding heads as are some of the species gladioli, not the big florist or ‘Dame Edna’ types they come later
Interesting bulb species from South Africa such as Spiloxene capensis our ‘late spring stars’ (picture right) variable in colour, ours are white with a deep red centre, others are white with iridescent green centre, some are cream with greyish markings,and some with a “dot” on the white tepals, also yellow with iridescent green centre, plain yellow and some with just a “dot”.
These bulbs will spread naturally, or you could try to collect the tiny black seeds. Where are they from? they are widely found throughout the Western Cape and Namaqualand.
If you were really lucky you might even be able to find Geissorhiza radians an amazing bulb that flowers mid season (rare in Australia)
It is important to remember that not all types of the one bulb will flower at the same time, Arisaema are a classic example with A. Fargesii and A.ringens flowering for us in the middle if the Spring Racing Carnival, early November at the same time as Watsonia is blooming.
A candidisimum is still hiding away in spring and will not appear until things start to warm up. Crocus are another, with some being very early such as C.vitellinus and other being later or even at a totally different time of the year.
A short video on spring flowering bulbs for the Australian Garden.
When to plant spring Bulbs.
Nearly all of these bulbs can be planted in autumn, some through until winter. Autumn is the best time to browse the catalogues as this is when you will have access to the greatest variety. It is also a cheaper way to buy bulbs, rather than purchasing potted specimens.
Planting depth and cultivation details will differ greatly between species, so why not browse the detailed information for specific bulbs listed below.
List of Bulbs for Spring.
(Extra information, photographs and where to buy)
- Arisaema – A.fargesii and A.ringens
- Chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow)
- Crocus C. tommasinianus C. vernus and the very early C.vitellinus C. leichtlinii
- Bearded Iris
- Eranthis hyemalis (winter aconite)
- Erythronium (Trout Lily) – picture right
- Gladioli species
- Iris Reticulata
- Jonquil Bulbs
- Puschkinia (striped squill)