There are countless types and varieties of bulb flowers. Fortunately, because this group of perennials is one of the most important flowering plants for our gardens, some of which adorn their location for decades with little care. Below are a number of popular bulbs as well as a number of lesser known bulbs, ranked by beauty for the garden designer and by beauty plus utility for the value-added aesthetician. With a general overview of how to plant, care for and fertilize all these beautiful and useful bulbous flowers.

Types and varieties of onion flowers

There are so many types and varieties of bulb flowers that they would be far too many for a single garden. A division into groups can therefore make the selection much easier. Here in beautiful bulb flowers and bulb flowers that can do more than just be beautiful:

The beautiful bulb flowers A to M

Flowering plants that decorate the garden for several years, may have to be overwintered, but come back all by themselves in native species – the decorative concept for the easy-care garden. Here are some suggestions:

  • Bellevalie, Bellevalia pycnantha: 65 species, impressive form of grape hyacinth with black-blue flowers, around 25 cm high, long flowering period
  • Dahlia, Dahlia: with legendary cultivars such as the peony-flowered dahlia in extraordinarily bright colours, the double ball dahlia, the lovely pompom dahlia and the extravagant cactus dahlia, height around 1 m, rich flowering, ideal for cutting
  • Fritillaria, chess flower: around 140 mostly frost-hardy species with pretty lily flowers and all stature heights, fox grape, crown imperial and chess flower are known
  • Garden gladiolus, Gladiolus × hortulanus: Hybrids of different species, around 10,000 varieties, one of the most magnificent ornamental plants with growth heights of up to 2 m, not hardy
  • Gold crocus, Sternbergia lutea: Bright golden yellow is not possible, nor is it more symbolic, the gold crocus comes from the Middle East and, according to some experts, is the “lily of the field” from the Bible.
  • Autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale: Frost hardy species of the crocus (Colchicum), few varieties, height of growth between 8 and 30 cm, frost hardy, dies in winter, late flowering.
  • Hyacinth, Hyacinthus orientalis: 20-25 cm, delicious scent, hyacinth for borders, pots or forcing, needs nutrient-rich soil and a warm place, hardy
  • Ismene, Ismene: Exceptionally beautiful + exotic, around 80 cm, not hardy
  • Kaphyacinth, Galtonia candicans: An impressive 130 cm with milky white bell-shaped flowers in panicles, hardy only in mild areas with good protection
  • Crocus, Crocus: Tiny, beautifully colorful as the garden crocus C. chrysanthus, as wild crocus (C. korolkowii) sometimes excitingly bronze-colored
  • Lily, Lilium: In many species and varieties, from low to 1.5 m, differently shaped, beautiful flower heads, color spectrum from white to dark red, always robust and hardy
  • March cup, Leucojum vernum: Easy-care “giant snowdrop” growing up to 30 cm tall, frost-hardy and uncomplicated

The beautiful bulb flowers N to Z

  • Narcissus, Narcissus: Many varieties with a rich play of colors from white to orange every spring, frost hardy, sometimes with an extremely delicious scent.
  • Nerine, Nerine: Around 40 cm, in some species and varieties, valuable late bloomer for anyone who still wants to see flowers in the garden in September, must overwinter indoors.
  • Splendor scharte, Liatris spicata: Expressive violet flower spikes of some length, grassy foliage, uncomplicated and very hardy.
  • Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis: The white-green classic delights everyone when it stretches its magical bells out of the snow in early spring.
  • Sword lily, iris: Around 300 species, varieties of horticultural forms that can hardly be counted anymore, available at all heights, perennial, mostly frost hardy.
  • Summer snowflake, Leucojum aestivum: At 50 cm tall, looks like a giant lily of the valley, vigorous, robust, durable and undemanding.
  • Steppenkerze, Eremurus: Around 45 species, ornamental plants are cultivated by a few in some winter-hardy varieties, growth height 80 cm to 2 m.
  • Grape hyacinth, Muscari azureum: Small, sky-blue beauty that grows easily and sows profusely, very frost hardy.
  • Tulips, Tulipa: 150 species, around 5,000 varieties in all colors and shapes, divided into “classes” because of the diversity. Carefully bred, perennial + undemanding hybrids (e.g. Darwin tulips, lily-flowered and Viridiflora tulips), sensitive rapid breeding, fragrant, unproblematic and robust wild tulips such as Tulipa sylvestris.
  • Miracle flower, Mirabilis jalapa: One plant, many flower colors, yellow next to red, white next to pink, and it was nature alone that came up with it! Height around 70 cm, flowering time from midsummer to frost, always in the evening – THE party flower for garden owners. Overwinter in the house.

Useful bulb flowers

Pure beauty has something to offer. For small gardens, however, the bulb flowers offer multiple talents, which also enrich the menu:

  • Wild garlic, Allium ursinum: Shows lush green early in the year and a little later an enchanting white carpet of flowers, which loosens up the garden soil for a long time; Shade plant under trees, hedges and shrubs
  • German garlic, Allium senescens ssp. montanum: around 30 cm, the bluish-green foliage and peppery bulbs are edible, as are the pink flower heads; old cottage garden plant
  • False Squill, Ornithogalum caudatum: pretty medium-tall lily plant with ornamental white-green striped flowers; hardy; Onion juice can be used like aloe vera
  • Garlic, Allium sativum: Also a bulbous plant that flowers ornamentally purple, pink, white; tastes best fresh, willing to grow and easy to care for
  • Shaggy grape hyacinth, Muscari comosum: Onion flower that grows up to 1 m tall with beautiful deep purple flowers; Harvest the onions, fry them or put them in oil
  • Edible prairie lily, Camassia quamash: The onion served North American Indians as food, raw or cooked
  • Saffron crocus, Crocus sativus: The pretty purple flower is a nice accessory, the sweet-aromatic scented, elongated pistils are used in the kitchen
  • Starflower, Ipheion uniflorum: Striking white spring star, assertive little one whose leaves and flowers taste like a mixture of garlic and chives
  • Winter hedge onion, Allium fistulosum: Height around 1 m, very distinctive green-white flowers on a strong green or red stem
  • Ornamental onion species, allium: flowers and young foliage are edible, in many growth heights between 40 and 90 cm high, some large flower balls with a long-distance effect

plant onion flowers

When the bulb flowers need to be planted, you will first notice the offer in your nursery. Onion flowers to be planted in the spring are also only offered in the spring. To be planted in the autumn (they also tell you exactly how each bulb should be planted and when).

Incidentally, you can also push all hardy bulb flowers forward and stick them in spring so that they bloom in the same season.

A few bulbs have special requests in terms of location (shade, full sun). Native bulbs usually don’t care much about location as long as they are planted in regular garden soil and get a few hours of bright light each day.

Sticking means pre-drilling a hole for the bulb flowers with the dibber.

The bulbs are now lightly pressed into the soil with the tip upwards, two to three times as deep as the bulb is high. Here you can vary a little, bulbs that are set deeper will bloom later. With different planting heights you can ensure prolonged flowering. Of course, you could also plant new bulb flowers every 10 days from mid-May to July. If you plant the bulb flowers at once, you can better keep certain distances.

When planting bulb flowers in groups, the distance between bulbs should be at least equal to the diameter of each bulb.

Magnificent permanent blooms on the balcony are created when you distribute bulbous flowers with different flowering times like a chessboard and plant them at different heights in a planter.


Bulb flowers are perennials, and perennials are a large group of garden plants that decorate the garden for (sometimes for a long) year. One of only four groups: perennials and lianas, trees and shrubs – these are the long-lived garden plants, and perennials are the only group of long-lived plants that do not become woody.

Non-woody means “herbaceous” for the botanist, fresh, green, tender and soft every season for the gardener. Perennials are therefore a very important group of plants for gardeners, because all other plants that grow fresh, green, tender and soft grow as annuals or biennials and therefore take a lot of work. Perennials usually grow perennial, i.e. over several years in which they reproduce several times, very rarely “only” perennial, with the difference to perennial that they only reproduce once and then die.

Like all perennials, the bulb flowers are very easy to care for. They don’t really need more than good soil to thrive, because all the nutrients that the bulb flower needs to grow are stored in the bulb.

location and soil

  • In the weeks after planting, the soil should not dry out under any circumstances, if necessary water it
  • Otherwise do not water native flower bulbs in the right soil in the right location
    • Only if the weather is exceptionally dry for a long period of time
  • Watch out for exotic plants: Depending on their origin, they have their own watering requirements
  • During flower development, all bulbous flowers consume a lot of water, the larger the flower heads, the more
  • Bloom could benefit from extra watering
  • Don’t leave onion flowers in the wet any longer, as this could cause the onions to rot
  • Native bulb flowers do not need fertilizer
    • but some compost to support flower development
  • For exotic plants, the amount of fertilizer depends on the variety, some are very frugal, others need complete fertilizer regularly during the season
  • Bulb flowers are easy to care for in terms of pruning
  • Leaves should remain on the plant for as long as possible
  • They contain nutrients that the onion flower stores in the bulbs for the next flowering
  • Only cut leaves when they have yellowed and dried up, in case of doubt next spring
  • faded flower stalks can be cut away
  • Without flower stalks, the onion flower has more strength to develop breeding bulbs

Once established, native bulb flowers grow contentedly until they die of old age. Which can take quite a long time. Imperial crowns, crocuses, daffodils, snowdrops and Scilla are known to live for 50 to 80 years.

Exotics that are not hardy here are usually a bit more sensitive to handling than the robust native bulbs and have to spend the winter indoors, but overall they still do less work than annual exotics. The rule of thumb for hibernation is: if a bulb is planted in spring, it must be hibernated indoors. If planted in the fall, it can overwinter outside.

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