Best Spring Flowering Bulbs For Cold Climates
Spring Bulbs, Spring Flowers
A cold climate has the following characteristics:
- Temperatures can drop to around -20°C (-4°F) during the winter (This is typical for climate zones 5 & 6)
- Winters are long and often accompanied by heavy snowfall
- Spring does not last long
- Summers are hot and dry
These tulips are good choices for multiple-year flowering when combining with perennials
Tulipa 'Couleur Cardinal' (Single Early Tulip)
Quite short, Tulip 'Couleur Cardinal' nevertheless has a commanding presence in the early-mid spring garden with its rich, deep-red flowers with a plum blush, all set on dark sturdy stems that withstand wind and rain. 'Couleur Cardinal' is one of the oldest tulips as it was introduced in 1845 (!!!) and has been quite popular since then. Grows up to 14 inches tall (35 cm)
Tulipa 'Don Quichotte' (Triumph Tulip)
Award-winning Tulip 'Don Quichotte' presents an impressive and attractive sight in the garden with its vibrant deep rose flowers and purple sheen. Blooming in mid-late spring, this Triumph Tulip has a propensity for repeat performances year after year. 'Don Quichotte' also enjoys a sturdy, long stem that will withstand wind and rain. Excellent as cut flowers! Grows up to 18-20 inches tall (45-50 cm)
Tulipa 'Orange Emperor' (Fosteriana Tulip)
Handsomely blossoming in early to mid-spring, award-winning Tulip 'Orange Emperor' is a glowing orange tulip, with large, wide petals, a pale buttercup yellow base, and black anthers. Ravishing! Enjoying a sturdy stem, it will withstand strong winds and float gracefully above its elegant sword-like foliage.
Tulipa 'Parade' (Darwin Hybrid Tulip)
For eye-catching spring color, award-winning Tulip 'Parade' is terrific with its enormous scarlet flowers with delicate yellow edges and a black heart. Long-lasting, these lovely blooms, up to 6 in. wide (15 cm), will enliven your garden in mid-late spring. A favorite member of the Darwin Hybrid Group, it also enjoys a sturdy, long stem that will withstand wind and rain! Grows up to 20-22 inches tall (50-55 cm)
Tulipa 'Purissima' (Fosteriana Tulip)
Adored by gardeners and considered one of the prettiest white tulip cultivars, award-winning Tulip 'Purissima' is a classy and elegant tulip with broad pure white elongated petals and a creamy base. Withstanding wind and rain thanks to its strong stem, it is a popular member of the Fosteriana Group. Blooming in early to mid-spring, it can be found on full display for up to 3 weeks! Growing up to 14-16 inches tall (35-40 cm), this tulip naturalizes easily and will come back year after year
Tulipa 'Showwinner' (Kaufmanniana Tulip)
Award-winning Tulip 'Showwinner' is a striking cultivar of the waterlily tulips, with its bright scarlet flowers which open wide to reveal a golden heart and are held on short stems above handsomely mottled leaves. A beautiful sight on display in the early spring garden! Naturalizes easily and will come back year after year. Grows only 8-10 inches tall (20-25 cm)
Tulipa 'Toronto' (Greigii Tulip)
Award-winning Tulip 'Toronto' is a multi-flowering tulip with 3-5 flowers per bulb. A bouquet per stem! Short but highly visible with its jasper red tinged on vermilion petals and bronze base atop handsomely mottled leaves! The cup-shaped flowers open broadly in the full sun. Belonging to the Greigii Tulips, 'Toronto' will reliably bring a joyful color to the garden in mid-spring. Growing only 12 inches tall (30 cm), this tulip naturalizes easily and will come back year after year to your delight!
These daffodils are good choices for multiple-year flowering when combining with perennials
Narcissus 'Carlton' (Large-Cupped Daffodil)
Rich with a strong vanilla scent, multiple award-winning Narcissus 'Carlton' is an exquisite, solid golden-yellow daffodil featuring very large flowers, 5 in. across (12 cm), adorned with wide, gracefully frilled cups and broad, overlapping petals. Blooming in mid-spring, this highly popular Large-Cupped Daffodil is a strong performer of immense vigor, and one of the best perennializers. It is famously reliable for large-scale plantings.
Narcissus 'Dutch Master' (Trumpet Daffodil)
Introduced in 1938, multiple award-winning Narcissus 'Dutch Master' has become the standard for large yellow daffodils. Lightly fragrant, it boasts very large, showy golden-yellow flowers, 4 in. across (11 cm), in mid-spring. Noted for its great vigor and superior performance, it has become a strong substitute for the most recognized, heirloom daffodil, King Alfred. Great for naturalizing. Comes back year after year to bring its cheerful color and put a smile on your face!
Narcissus 'February Gold' (Cyclamineus Daffodil)
Always the first to bloom, multiple award-winner Narcissus 'February Gold' is a small but sturdy daffodil with gently nodding flowers, up to 3 in. across (7.5 cm), adorned with vivid yellow trumpets and reflexed petals. Blooming in early spring, this Miniature Daffodil is one of the most reliable, reblooming perennial bulbs. It multiplies easily to create pretty swathes of yellow blooms resembling shooting stars with their back-swept petals. Perfect for borders or naturalizing.
Narcissus 'Flower Drift' (Double Daffodil)
Rich with a spicy fragrance, Narcissus 'Flower Drift' features large, fully double flowers, 4 in. across (10 cm), adorned with multiple creamy-white petals surrounding a warm orange-yellow center. Blooming in early-mid spring, with one flower per stem, this Double Daffodil is a good naturalizer.
Narcissus 'Fortissimo' (Large-Cupped Daffodil)
A real show-stopper, Narcissus 'Fortissimo' produces very large blossoms, up to 5 inches across (12 cm), combining brilliant yellow petals with a slightly frilled, reddish-orange cup. Blooming in mid-spring, this very eye-catching Large-Cupped Daffodil is a wonderful naturalizer and makes ravishing cut flowers. Each spring will bring you more of the largest, brightest daffodils!
Narcissus 'Ice Follies' (Large-Cupped Daffodil)
Sweetly fragrant, multiple award-winner Narcissus 'Ice Follies' produces large flowers, 4 in. across (9.5 cm), adorned with creamy-white petals and a flared, frilled, lemon-yellow cup that fades to pale cream over time. Blooming in early to mid-spring, this fast-growing and popular Large-Cupped Daffodil is a wonderful naturalizer as well as a good forcer. A heavy bloomer and vigorous grower, it makes excellent cut flowers too!
Narcissus 'Ice King' (Double Daffodil)
Resembling carnations with its fully double lemon-yellow petals turning creamy-white, Narcissus 'Ice King' is a marvelous addition to any mid-spring borders. And it is so conspicuous with its impressive 4 in. (10 cm) blossoms! A sport of world acclaimed Narcissus 'Ice follies', this Double Daffodil has been extremely popular since its introduction in 1984. Makes a beautiful cut flower and creates extremely long-lasting bouquets.
Narcissus 'Jack Snipe' (Cyclamineus Daffodil)
Long-lived, multiple award-winner Narcissus 'Jack Snipe' is a sturdy and reliable Miniature Daffodil with long-lasting, relatively large flowers, 3 in. wide (7 cm), adorned with creamy-white, reflexed petals and frilled, bright yellow trumpets. Blooming for a good 6 weeks in early to mid-spring, the brightly poised blooms of this very vigorous daffodil create a bold statement in the garden. A great choice for naturalizing in grass.
Narcissus 'Jetfire' (Cyclamineus Daffodil)
Free flowering and slightly scented, multiple award-winner Narcissus 'Jetfire' or 'Jet Fire' is one of the most striking of all dwarf narcissus, producing large flowers, 3 in. across (7.5 cm), adorned with vivid yellow, strongly reflexed petals, and an extraordinary reddish-orange trumpet. Blooming in early to mid-spring, one flower per stem, this small but sturdy Miniature Daffodil is terrific for borders or containers.
Narcissus 'Mount Hood' (Trumpet Daffodil)
A standard for white daffodils, multiple award-winner Narcissus 'Mount Hood' boasts slightly fragrant, large flowers, 4 in. across (10 cm), emerging creamy-white with pale yellow trumpets, which fade to a lovely pale cream before turning as white as snow. Blooming in mid-spring, one flower per stem, this Trumpet Daffodil enjoys a very long blooming season. Great-looking in the garden or a vase, it is also an excellent naturalizer. This classic white Trumpet Daffodil has been extremely popular since its introduction pre-1938.
Narcissus 'Peeping Tom' (Cyclamineus Daffodil)
Vigorous and long-lived, multiple award-winner Narcissus 'Peeping Tom' boasts large flowers, 4 in. across (9.5 cm), adorned with brilliant yellow, reflexed petals surrounding long, bright golden-yellow ruffled trumpets. Blooming in early to mid-spring, this Miniature Daffodil is great for naturalizing and multiplies rapidly. Perfect choice for the garden or containers.
Narcissus 'Pink Charm' (Large-Cupped Daffodil)
Award-winner Narcissus 'Pink Charm' produces exquisite, large flowers, 4 in. across (9cm), with ivory-white petals surrounding a creamy-white cup adorned with a lovely coral band at the rim. Blooming in mid-spring, this romantic-looking Large-Cupped Daffodil is noted for its wonderful ability to produce a second bloom on many stems. Great in pots for the patio or balcony, in a vase or planted in the garden. Excellent as cut flowers!
Narcissus 'Salome' (Large-Cupped Daffodil)
Exquisite and popular, multiple award-winner Narcissus 'Salome' boasts large blossoms, up to 4 in. across (9 cm), adorned with creamy petals and a primrose-yellow cup, softly fading to peach-pink. Blooming in mid-spring, this consistent and elegant Large-Cupped Daffodil never fails to put on a remarkable display when it appears in spring. Perfect for chasing away those winter blues!
Narcissus 'Standard Value' (Trumpet Daffodil)
Highly reliable, Narcissus 'Standard Value' is a mid-sized Daffodil featuring bright, golden petals surrounding a lemon-yellow trumpet with a slightly ruffled edge. Blooming in mid to late spring, one flower per stem, it is ideal for naturalizing.
Narcissus 'Tahiti' (Double Daffodil)
Double Narcissus is romance with all the frills! Robust, fragrant, multiple award-winning Narcissus 'Tahiti' features large, double flowers, 4 in. across (11 cm), with multiple golden-yellow petals and vermilion interior ruffles. Very eye-catching in mid-late spring! Standing up and straight on sturdy stems, it holds up to rain. Extremely vigorous and prolific, this Double Daffodil is reliably perennial and is a fine naturalizer.
Narcissus 'Tete a Tete' (Cyclamineus Daffodil)
One of the most popular miniature daffodils worldwide, multiple award-winner Narcissus 'Tête à Tête' boasts perfectly formed, gently nodding, very fragrant flowers, 2.5 in. across (6.5 cm), adorned with pale yellow petals and brighter yellow trumpets. Blooming in early to mid-spring, with 1-3 flowers per stem, this dwarf daffodil is great for naturalizing and very popular for forcing. Highly versatile, it is a beautiful golden addition to the front of the border and a very popular pick for containers and window boxes.
Narcissus 'White Lion' (Double Daffodil)
Multiple award-winning Narcissus 'White Lion' is sweetly fragrant and sturdy with blossoms resembling gardenias! It features long-lasting, double flowers with multiple creamy-white petals surrounding a warm yellow center. Blooming in mid to late spring, this strong and reliable heirloom Daffodil was introduced in the 1940s and is still a favorite.
Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus (Poeticus Daffodil)
Strongly scented, award-winner Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus, commonly called 'Pheasant's Eye Daffodil', displays brilliant pure white flowers with strongly recurved petals and small, red-rimmed, golden-yellow cups. Blooming in late spring, one flower per stem, the long-lasting blossoms rise atop a clump of narrow, strap-shaped leaves. Great in the sunny border, this daffodil performs better in wet, poorly drained areas than most daffodils. Plant in mass and enjoy its delightful fragrance waft through the air.
These hyacinths are good choices for multiple-year flowering when combining with perennials
Hyacinthus orientalis 'Anna Marie' (Dutch Hyacinth)
Award-winning Hyacinth 'Anna Marie' brings a cheerful sight to the dull days of late winter! Featuring flowered spikes densely covered with starry, pale pink flowers with darker centers, maturing salmon-pink with age, it is highly fragrant! Floating atop erect, lance-shaped rich green leaves, this beauty blooms for 2-3 weeks in mid-spring. Plant it where you will be able to enjoy its perfume daily: near a doorway, along a path, near your patio or deck!
Hyacinthus orientalis 'Blue Jacket' (Dutch Hyacinth)
Heavily scented, multi award-winning Hyacinth 'Blue Jacket' features dense spikes of deep blue flowers with a dark purple stripe on each petal. Rising atop strap-shaped green leaves, this striking hyacinth blooms for 2-3 weeks in mid-spring. Its rich blue hue combines remarkably well with most colors, specifically with yellow daffodils, which bloom at about the same time.
Hyacinthus orientalis 'Carnegie' (Dutch Hyacinth)
Exuding a rich and sweet fragrance that will turn heads, Hyacinth 'Carnegie' is probably the whitest of all hyacinths with its luminous snow-white spikes densely covered with starry florets. Blooms for 2-3 weeks in mid-spring and associates particularly well with short red tulips. Plant it where you will be able to enjoy its delicious fragrance!
Hyacinthus orientalis 'City of Haarlem' (Dutch Hyacinth)
With its soft primrose yellow color, Hyacinth 'City of Haarlem' brings a cheerful sight to the dull days of late winter! Featuring flowered spikes densely covered with starry, pale yellow florets maturing to ivory, it is strongly fragrant. Rising atop fleshy bright green leaves, this eye-catching hyacinth blooms for 2-3 weeks in mid-spring. Combine with Hyacinth 'Jan Bos' for a striking combination or with 'Blue Jacket' for a pastel scenery.
Hyacinthus orientalis 'Gipsy Queen' (Dutch Hyacinth)
With its unique soft coral color, Hyacinth 'Gipsy Queen' brings interest and fragrance to pots, beds, or borders. Featuring flowered spikes densely covered with starry, pale salmon florets edged with white, this charming variety combines beautifully with purple or blue hues to create stunning combinations. Great hyacinth for forcing.
Hyacinthus orientalis 'Jan Bos' (Dutch Hyacinth)
With its distinct reddish pink color, Hyacinth 'Jan Bos' is a very cheerful and impressive sight! Featuring flowered spikes densely covered with starry, dark pink florets, delicately purple-edged, it is intensely fragrant. Blooming for several weeks in mid-spring, it will stay erect and upright when grown in the open and will not fall over. Plant it where you will be able to enjoy its perfume daily!
Hyacinthus orientalis 'Pink Pearl' (Dutch Hyacinth)
Highly fragrant, award-winning Hyacinth 'Pink Pearl' features dense spikes of fuchsia-purple flowers edged pale pink. Floating atop erect, lance-shaped bright green leaves, this beauty blooms for 3-4 weeks in mid-spring. Plant it where you will be able to enjoy its perfume daily: near a doorway, along a path, near your patio or deck!
These special bulbs are good choices for multiple-year flowering when combining with perennials
Crocus vernus 'Flower Record' (Dutch Crocus)
Giant Dutch Crocus 'Flower Record' bears large, cup-like violet-mauve blooms with orange stamen. Extremely vigorous, long-lived and appropriate for naturalizing, this crocus belongs to the Crocus vernus group, known for its flowers that are larger than any other of the crocuses. This crocus blooms for about 3 weeks in early spring and naturalizes easily. Growing up to 4-6 inches tall (10-15 cm), this beauty naturalizes easily and will come back year after year!
Crocus vernus 'Pickwick' (Dutch Crocus)
Giant Dutch Crocus 'Pickwick' bears large, cup-like silver-lilac flowers, heavily striped with pale and dark lilac stripes. Extremely vigorous, long-lived and appropriate for naturalizing, this crocus belongs to the Crocus vernus group, known for its flowers that are larger than any other of the crocuses. A first-rate choice for planting in big, bold drifts in grass, where it will quickly spread.
Erythronium 'Pagoda' (Dog Tooth Violet)
With big creamy-yellow flowers, Erythronium 'Pagoda' (Dog Tooth Violet) is an outstanding addition to shady gardens. Vigorous, this spring perennial features up to 10 nodding lily-like flowers per stem, 2 in. wide (5 cm), with elegantly recurved, pointed petals in mid to late spring. They rise well above the foliage of rich green, glossy leaves, mottled with brown or bronze markings. The rosette of leaves emerges in early spring and grows from long, tooth-like bulbs, before dying back soon after flowering.
Puschkinia scilloides (Striped Squill)
Realize an impressive display with this lovely bulb, Striped Squill (Puschkinia libanotica or Puschkinia scilloides). A great naturalizer, it will come back year after year and even multiply from seed under favorable conditions of light shade and moisture-retentive soil. Quite short (up to 8 inches tall - 20 cm), this award-winning bulb still makes a striking impact with its pale blue, bell-shaped flowers, accentuated with deeper blue stripes. A real charmer!
Scilla mischtschenkoana (White Squill)
Native to the mountains of northern Iran, award-winning Scilla mischtschenkoana (White Squill) is the earliest to flower, generally in late winter or early spring. This bulbous perennial features charming racemes of starry ice-blue flowers, about 1 inch wide (2.5 cm), with a dark stripe through each petal. The blooms last as long as 2 months! Specimens that receive what they need often continue to flower year after year in the same location. White Squill has long been a popular species for the garden where it is planted to enhance early season interest. Grows up to 3-6 in. tall and wide (7-15 cm). Hardiness Zones: 4-8
Scilla siberica (Siberian Squill)
One of the earliest spring bloomers, Scilla siberica is a bulbous perennial boasting intense blue, bell-shaped, nodding flowers (2-5 per stem) in early to mid-spring. Each bulb produces 3 to 4 flower stems above a grassy foliage of narrow strap-shaped leaves. Easy to grow, this is one of the most winter hardy of the scillas and can be found in hardiness zone 2. A great naturalizer, it multiplies and comes back year after year, turning the landscape into a sea of blue. Looks best when planted in large drifts. Grows up to 3-6 in. tall and wide (7-15 cm). Hardiness Zones: 2-8
Alliums (Ornamental Onions)
Alliums are plants of exquisite beauty that deserve a place in perennial gardens. Easy to grow and undemanding, these very ornamental bulbs distinguish themselves by their great diversity in color, inflorescence, flowering height and bloom times. Many species bloom in early summer - just after the spring-flowering period and just before the exuberant full bloom of summer.
Anemone blanda (Grecian Windflower)
Anemone blanda (Grecian Windflower) is a rewarding little plant that can easily provide a great deal of pleasure! Offering dabs of bright colors in mid-spring, mounds of abundant daisy-like flowers show off in shades of white, blue, and pink over the finely cut fernlike foliage. These daisies seem to last for weeks.
Chionodoxa (Glory Of The Snow)
Native to Crete and Turkey, Chionodoxa are one of the earliest and loveliest spring flowering bulbs, adding beauty to the garden. Flowers are saucer-shaped with a conspicuous white eye in the center and bloom in very early spring. Once established, this little bulb naturalizes well and comes back year after year. It provides a pretty display when planted among early-flowering perennial plants in the border. Grows up to 4-6 in. tall (10-20 cm). Hardiness Zones: 3-8
Crocus tommasinianus (Early Crocus)
Among the earliest to flower, this species has elegant blossoms of pale lavender to red-purple with a silvery reverse. The profuse flowering and spontaneous self-propagation make this crocus a very good choice for naturalizing. Blooming from late winter to early spring, the calyx-shaped flowers open when the sun shines or when there is a lot of light; they close up in rainy weather and at night.
Iris hollandica (Dutch Iris)
While called 'Dutch Iris', this iris never grew wild in the Netherlands. Instead, it is the product of hybridizations carried out by Dutch growers. Tall and slender, it features flowers that are 4 in. wide (10 cm) with flower stalks, surrounded by gray reed-like leaves, that are very sturdy - a quality which makes them quite suitable for use as cut flowers. The color assortment is very wide and includes bicolored varieties.
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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.
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