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Hyacinthoides non-scripta, ENGLISH BLUEBELL, 1200        
True stock of this legendary wildflower is all but impossible to get today (it crosses too freely with Spanish bluebells in the Dutch bulb fields), but ours come from a small nursery in Wales where it’s native and still 100% pure. With slender, arching, honey-scented blooms, it’s easy to see why it’s been so well-loved for so long — though please note that unless you live in a mild, moist climate, Spanish bluebells (above) are much easier to grow. 12-15”, zones 6a-7b(9bWC), from cool, green Wales. Chart & care.
Leucojum aestivum, GRAVETYE GIANT SNOWFLAKE, 1596        
Animal-proof! Above leaves that look like a daffodil’s, clusters of white bells tipped with green dots dangle gracefully. Standing 18-24 inches tall, ‘Gravetye Giant ’ is the hardiest, most floriferous snowflake, introduced in 1924 from Gravetye Manor (say GRAVE-tie), the home of William Robinson, “father of the English perennial border.” And even pocket gophers leave them alone! Aka snowdrops or dewdrops (especially in the South), zones 5a-9b(9WC), from Holland. Chart & care.
Lycoris radiata var. radiata, RED SPIDER LILY, 1821        
True stock! This is the original Southern heirloom — a triploid, which gives it extra vigor — not the smaller, earlier-blooming Japanese diploid that most sources offer today. Legend has it that it was introduced into New Bern, NC, by a US Navy captain in the 1850s and spread across the country from there. With clusters of exotic, coral-red flowers, it lights up the late summer garden like fireworks, even in light shade. 18-24”, zones 7a(some say 6!)-10b(10bWC), from Texas and Louisiana. Chart & care.
Lycoris squamigera, SURPRISE LILY, MAGIC LILY, 1889        
In late summer, bare stalks rocket up out of nowhere, opening into shimmering, lavender-pink, amaryllis-like flowers. Surprise! Also known as naked ladies and resurrection lily, this Asian wildflower is “nearly ideal for the middle and upper South,” Scott Ogden writes in Garden Bulbs for the South. It blooms here in chilly zone-6 Ann Arbor, too, if you can give it a sunny site that stays relatively dry in summer — and patience as it re-establishes itself. 36”, zones 5b-8a(8bWC), from North Carolina. Chart & care.
Muscari neglectum, SOUTHERN GRAPE HYACINTH, 1629        
Dark, midnight-blue starch hyacinths or blue bottles have made themselves at home and multiplied without care in sunny gardens and shady lawns throughout the South for generations — and they do equally well up North! (If you’re looking for the original grape hyacinth, we’re sad to say it has recently gone “commercially extinct.”) 6-10”, zones 5a-8b(9bWC). Chart & care.
Ornithogalum nutans, SILVER BELLS, 1629        
We love these subtle, Quakerish bells of silver and sage that have been grown since colonial days. They thrive in light shade, bloom in late spring, and are much too rarely seen today. They’re cheap, too — so why not take a small leap and try a few? 8-12”, zones 5b-8b(8bWC), from Holland. Chart & care.
Rhodophiala bifida, OXBLOOD LILY, 1807        
Also called hurricane and schoolhouse lilies, these brilliant heirlooms look like short, slender, blood-red amaryllises. Extra tough, they thrive in clay or sand and often mark abandoned homesites. They were introduced from the Andes in 1807, brought to Texas by German settlers about 1865, and were offered by the Lily Nursery of Jacksonville, Florida, by 1881. Ours is the true ‘Hill Country Red’ heirloom, formerly Amaryllis advena, Habranthus hesperius, and Hippeastrum advenum, 12-18”, zones 7a-10b, from Texas. Chart & care.
Scilla siberica, SIBERIAN SQUILL, 1796        
Vast pools of this true blue wildflower spangle many old neighborhoods in very early spring, spreading without care in light shade, under shrubs and into lawns. Grown in America by 1830, its heyday was the early 1900s when one writer recommended planting “hundreds and thousands in every garden.” We’d be happy to help you with that! 4-6”, zones 3a-7b(9bWC), from Holland. Chart & care.
Sternbergia lutea, STERNBERGIA, 1596        
“Perhaps the best of fall-flowering bulbs,” writes John Bryan in his encyclopedic Bulbs. Often called fall daffodils, sternbergia look more like big, lemon-yellow crocus. They do best in sunny sites that are dryish in summer and not too harsh in winter. (Learn more.) Though grown since colonial days and “once plentiful” according to Elizabeth Lawrence, by 1942 they were “so neglected they disappeared from all but a few” old gardens. Isn’t it time for a renaissance? 6-9”, zones 6a-9b(10bWC), from Holland. Chart & care.
Trillium grandiflorum, TRILLIUM, 1799        
This simple but stunning wildflower that Allan Armitage calls “the epitome of woodland natives” is also a great garden plant. As far back as 1805 Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon recommended bringing it in from the woods to “grace and embellish the flower-garden,” and in 1870 William Robinson featured a full-page image of it in his ground-breaking The Wild Garden. Best in light shade and moist, humus-rich soil, 12-16”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), nursery-grown for us in Tennessee. Chart & care.

FALL-PLANTED ARCHIVES — For customer tips and raves, the stories behind the bulbs, links and books, history, news, and more, see our Diverse Fall-Planted Newsletter Archives.

CUT FLOWERS — For tips for longer lasting bouquets with alliums, freesia, snowdrops, and more, see our Bulbs as Cut Flowers page.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS — Most of our Diverse Others are easy to grow, but their needs, of course, are diverse. To help you choose wisely for your garden, here’s our best advice (in alphabetical order by genus) for their planting and care.

Chionodoxa, TURKISH GLORY-OF-THE-SNOW — Plant ASAP when you receive them in October. These naturally small bulbs can dry out and die if stored too long.

Choose a sunny to partly shaded site with well-drained soil. Turkish glory-of-the-snow is adaptable and will grow happily under deciduous shrubs or trees (even walnuts!) and in turf that’s not too dense. (For best increase, avoid mowing till the foliage turns yellow.)

Plant with tip up, about 3” deep and 3-4” apart. Scratch a bit of bulb fertilizer into the soil surface after planting — slow-release 10-10-10 is ideal — and water well.

Consider protecting with plastic netting, chicken-wire, etc., for a few weeks after planting, typically the only time animals bother these animal-resistant bulbs.

Mulch lightly or not at all. Bark mulch is often too thick or heavy for small bulbs such as glory-of-the-snow and their growth will suffer.

After bloom, allow the foliage to yellow completely to feed the bulbs before removing. For rapid increase, allow flowers to mature and scatter their seeds.

Cyclamen, SOWBREAD CYCLAMEN— Plant ASAP when you receive them in October. To thrive, these tubers MUST establish good roots as early as possible.

Choose a lightly shaded site — under high-branched deciduous shrubs or trees often suits cyclamen well, or on the east side of a house — with well-drained soil that’s rich in humus (moisture-retentive organic matter). Make sure it’s a spot where you can see and enjoy these short plants, too!

Space 4-6” apart, leaving room for tubers to expand in future years. Plant flat with KNOBBY (often indented) side UP and smooth BARE side down. (C. hederifolium roots and sprouts from the top and sides only. Cover with 1-2” of soil. Water well, once, but allow soil to dry out a bit between future waterings. Cyclamen do NOT like soggy soils.

Leaves may appear the first fall or you may not see them until the NEXT fall, after they flower. (Have Faith, and mark where you planted them. A little protection from bitter cold and wind the first winter can be helpful. Snow is best, but a light sprinkling of straw or an evergreen bough will work, too.

Leaves go dormant in summer. Allow to yellow and wither naturally. Avoid watering while dormant. Top-dress lightly with well-rotted leaves, compost, or other organic matter. Look for first flowers the next fall, usually before leaves re-appear. In the right spot, cyclamen will self-sow if you allow flowers to mature and scatter their seeds.

Eranthis, WINTER ACONITE — Plant these tiny perishable rhizomes ASAP when you receive them in October. Delayed planting is the most common cause of failure with eranthis.

Choose a sunny (but not hot) or partly shaded site — maybe at the base of deciduous shrubs — with humusy but well-drained soil that never gets bone-dry. Unlike most bulbs, winter aconites need regular moisture year-round. They also prefer neutral or slightly alkaline soil.

Plant with the tiny bumps (the eyes) up, or on their side if you’re not sure, about 2-3 inches deep and 2-3 inches apart. Consider protecting with plastic netting, chicken-wire, etc., for a few weeks after planting, typically the only time pests bother these animal-resistant bulbs. Water well and keep soil moist through fall as new roots grow. Fertilizing is usually not necessary.

Do not mulch. Mulch is often too thick or heavy for small bulbs such as eranthis and their growth will suffer — if they emerge at all.

After bloom, allow seedpods to ripen and scatter their seed, and allow the foliage to wither (to feed the rhizomes) before removing. In the right spot, Eranthis will multiply into ever-increasing colonies.

Freesia, ANTIQUE FREESIA — The corms of this species freesia are naturally TINY. Plant ASAP when you receive them in October. By then they have already had a longer-than-usual dormant season, and they are eager to start growing again.

Choose a sunny to lightly shaded site with loose, well-drained, humusy soil. Plant with the broader end down, about 2” deep to the base and about 2” apart (so the wiry plants can support one another). Mulch only lightly, if at all. Water regularly through the growing and blooming season, but reduce watering after that as the seeds mature and the foliage begins to ripen.

After bloom, allow the seed heads to mature and scatter their seeds. Corms are dormant through the summer. Do not water till growth resumes in the fall. Fertilizing is rarely necessary in good soil.

Freesias like dry, Mediterranean-climate summers and are challenging elsewhere. If you’re a skilled, attentive gardener, though, you might like to give them a try in the Southwest, Texas, or Southeast. The Mobile Press-Register’s Bill Finch, for example, reports that they bloom well for him in soggy Mobile where he plants them “just on the edge of the skirts of large, long-legged shrubs” which help to keep them dry in summer.

Gladiolus, BYZANTINE GLAD — Byzantine glads are not fussy, and they do well in a wide range of sites. Ideally, though, choose a sunny to very lightly shaded spot with well-drained soil.

Plant in early to mid-fall, 3”-4” deep and about 6” apart. Water. Consider protecting with plastic netting, chicken-wire, etc., for a few weeks after planting, typically the only time these animal-resistant bulbs are bothered.

Their first winter, a deep, light winter mulch such as straw, oak leaves, pine needles, etc., will help these Southern-grown bulbs adapt to more northerly conditions.

New foliage usually emerges in mid-winter — though in the North this will be delayed well into spring. After blooming in late spring or early summer, the plant will gradually yellow and wither as it goes into dormancy. When you remove the foliage, you may want to mark the spot so you don’t accidentally disturb or plant over them later. With minimal care, Byzantine glads will multiply and increase in beauty every year.

Leucojum, ‘GRAVETYE GIANT’ SNOWFLAKE — Choose a site in sun, light shade, or even half-shade in the South. Snowflakes like more moisture than most bulbs, so avoid bone-dry sites. Although most bulbs prefer well-drained soils, snowflakes can do well in clay soils, too. They are also highly animal-resistant.

Plant 4”-6” deep to the base of the bulbs and 4”-6” apart. Scratch a little fertilizer into the soil surface; slow-release 10-10-10 is ideal. Water well as they establish roots in the fall, and assure even moisture through bloom-time.

After bloom, allow the foliage to yellow completely (to feed the bulbs) before removing. With good care snowflakes will multiply, making an increasingly beautiful display every year. When decreased bloom indicates overcrowding, fertilize especially well. If that doesn’t produce more flowers the next spring, dig and divide.

Lycoris radiata, RED SPIDER LILY — Choose a site that’s sunny or — in the South — partially shaded. Red spider lily is highly adaptable but often does best in loose, well-drained, acidic soil.

Plant in the fall so that the neck of the bulb is just an inch or so beneath the surface, or about 5“-6“ to the base of the bulb, and about 6“ apart from center to center. Scratch a tablespoon of bulb fertilizer into the surface soil; slow-release 10-10-10 is ideal. Water well.

Leaves will emerge the first fall and will need protection over the winter when temperatures dip below 20° F. They will yellow and go dormant next summer.

Flowers will appear the following fall — or even the year after. Please be patient. Though our bulbs are all blooming-size and freshly harvested by our Texas grower, Lycoris always resent transplanting and storage and are naturally slow to re-establish themselves and bloom again. Once settled in, though, they will multiply and increase in beauty year after year.

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