Bulbs planted in fall burst forth in spring with bright colors, often before much else is growing in the garden. They must be planted in fall to develop their root system before the ground freezes. Spring bulbs also require a period of dormancy, which is brought about by cold-winter temperatures. Perennials, most flower bulbs, bloom year after year with minimal maintenance. A few varieties require new plantings each fall as they only produce blooms for one or two springs.
Usually the first flowers to blooms, narcissus are more commonly called daffodils. Commonly yellow, there are also white and, to a lesser extent, orange varieties. Plant in fall eight to 10 weeks before the first frost date in your area. Sow bulbs six inches beneath the soil surface and six inches apart. Daffodils look best when sown in same-variety groupings. Deer and other pests leave daffodil bulbs alone, rarely digging them up as they do other bulbs.
Available in nearly every color imaginable including black, tulip's cup-shaped flowers sit atop tall stems. Plant bulbs six inches deep in clusters. Space the bulbs three to six inches apart. Tulips may only bloom for a few years before the bulbs must be dug up and fresh ones planted, though some varieties do well for many years. If tulips aren't blooming well in one area of the garden, try moving them to a different area. A favorite of deer and squirrels, plant in special wire bulb boxes if these pest are a problem to protect the bulbs.
Hyacinth come in several colors including purple, blue, pink, yellow and white. Each flower stems grows many small flowers over its length. Early spring bloomers, hyacinth often begin flowering when there is still snow on the ground. Plant four weeks before the first predicted frost date in your area. Hyacinths tolerate less crowding than other bulbs, so space them six inches apart in small groupings. Plant hyacinth in the same beds as tulips or other mid-spring blooming flowers. The hyacinth reach the end of their blooming period just as the mid-spring bulbs start setting their blossoms.
These bulbs are called lesser not because their blooms aren't as attractive as the more well-known bulbs but because they aren't technically bulbs. These flowers grow from a root section similar to a bulb but known as a corm. Lesser bulbs include freesia, anemone and crocus. Plant these the same as you would bulbs, usually four to six weeks before the first frost for early spring blooms. The plants produce new corms after they are done blooming and return each year.