Spring bulbs create a warm respite from winter's oftentimes colorless landscape. Grown in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colors, spring bulbs are ideal lining flowerbeds and borders, tucked into containers or grown in masses around larger plants like trees and shrubs. Oftentimes, the best spring bulbs are those that are hardy and produce unusual-shaped blooms and interesting foliage. Many spring bulbs are also frost-tolerant to withstand below-freezing temperatures that occur in the beginning of spring.
Dutch crocus (Crocus vernus) is a spring-blooming bulb that, according to Fine Gardening Magazine, "is one of the hardiest, if not the hardiest, crocus available." Low-growing, Dutch crocus grow less than 6 inches tall and wide and are ideal lining a front flowerbed or tucked into containers. A sign that spring is here, Dutch crocus have a moderate growth rate and clumping habit. The cup-shaped, lavender or purple flower have white stripes running down the bloom and deep yellow, contrasting centers. Dutch crocus grows best in full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. They are suitable to grow in USDA zones 3 to 8.
Tulip 'Red Riding Hood' (Tulipa greigii 'Red Riding Hood') is a variety of tulip bulb that grows in spring and produces dramatic foliage and blooms. It reaches a maximum height of 12 inches and has a moderate growth rate. The scarlet and carmine red flowers on tulip 'red riding hood' have a black base, creating a dramatic display. Frost-tolerant, the variegated 10- to 12-inch-long, green foliage is striped in burgundy and purple. Tulip 'red riding hood' is an ideal flower to grow with other tulip varieties for a rainbow of color. They grow best in full sun to afternoon sun and well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Tulips can be grown in containers or raised beds and are suitable to grow in USDA zones 3 to 8.
Large-cupped daffodil (Narcissus 'Ice Follies' ) is a early to mid-season spring-blooming bulb that grows up to 1 ½ feet tall with a spread just under 1 foot wide. Large-cupped daffodils are a popular variety that are easy to grow. The white petals on large-cupped daffodils surround the ruffled, flat cup. The strap- to linear-shaped, narrow green foliage on large-cupped daffodils appears in sprawling, erect clumps that make an ideal addition along a flowerbed or border, or grown in masses under trees and shrubs. Daffodils are versatile and mix well with other spring bulbs. Their bloom color also complements other daffodil varieties or sets off more colorful spring bulbs like tulips. Large-cupped daffodils grow best in full sun to part shade and well-drained, rich, loamy to sandy soil. Plant in USDA zones 3 to 8.