Alphabetical Plant Listing

Best Spring Bulbs for the Great Lakes Region

Spring Bulbs, Spring Flowers


You have the benefit of a climate moderated by the Great Lakes. However, you can experience fairly extreme climate changes and often heavy winds. Choosing shorter, sturdier cultivars that stand up better to the windy conditions may be appropriate, depending on local conditions. Later blooming cultivars may be less affected by late freezes but their flowers may not last as long if hot spells hit in late spring.

Optimum Planting Time: September 15th — November 15th
USDA Hardiness Zones: 5, 6, 7

A New England
B Mid-Atlantic Coastal
C Appalachian
D South Atlantic Coastal
E Great Lakes
F East Central
G South Central
H Tropical
I Gulf Coast
J Northern Central
K Central & Great Plains
L Rocky Mountains
M Arid West
N Northern Pacific Coast
O Southern Pacific Coast
P Alaska
U.S. Bulb Planting Regions Map

General Instructions

  •  
Plant bulbs in the fall starting when nighttime temperatures stay between 40-50°F. But, be sure to plant approximately six weeks before the ground freezes to allow sufficient time for rooting. Bulbs will root best in cool soil and once rooted undergo natural changes that keep them from freezing. Water your bulbs after planting to help them start the rooting process.
  • After planting, apply slow release "bulb food" fertilizer on the top of the ground to supply nutrients for the second year's bloom. (Bulbs are already fully charged with energy for peak flowering performance in their first spring bloom season.) Do not put the fertilizer in the hole with the bulb as this may burn the bulb's tender roots.
  • Please note: Modern bone meal generally has little value as a bulb fertilizer and often draws rodents and dogs that dig up the bulbs looking for bones!
  • After the ground cools or freezes, cover your bulb beds with a lightweight mulch (pine needles, buckwheat hulls, straw or chopped up leaves) 2 — 4 inches thick to help keep down weeds and maintain a consistently cool soil temperature.

Special Note
Deer can be a major problem with edible tulips and lilies. Cornell University trials of products such as Deer Off, which must be applied at emergence and until bloom, have had some success.

Guide Information

Plant Type Bulbs
Season of Interest Spring
Midwest Plant Combination Ideas Midwest Guides

Top picture is courtesy of Peter Wiezoreck

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Plant Type Bulbs
Season of Interest Spring
Midwest Plant Combination Ideas Midwest Guides

Find your Hardiness Zone

Find your Climate Zone

Find your Heat Zone

Join Gardenia.net

Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

Join now and start creating your dream garden!

Create a New Collection

Optional. For your reference.


Move Selected Plants to a Different Collection


Delete Collection

This field is required.