When you want spring to really bring flowers to your garden, then you need to put some work in during the autumn before! The best autumn planting bulbs can simply be planted out in November and naturally flourish in spring. This list contains numerous perennial bulbs, so once you’ve planted them in the autumn, they will continue to bloom for many years to come.
Disclaimer: I have selected these autumn planting bulbs from the selection available at DutchGrown. They have some excellent high-quality and award-winning bulbs, and I am also an affiliate partner. If you click one of the links below and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission – this is at no additional cost to you, but it helps me to keep the blog running.
P.S. if you are looking for some seriously beautiful and unique flowers to grow, check out my article Best Tulip Varieties to Grow in the UK next.
1. Tulip Autumn Planting Bulbs
Tulips are, in my opinion, the best and most beautiful flowers that you can plant in autumn ready for the following spring. Tulip bulbs are so elegant and beautiful, swaying softly in the wind. With a good balance of foliage at the base, a slender stem, and flamboyant petals, they are a treat for the eyes. Tulips come in a vast array of varieties and colours, so there’s really an option for every garden.
At DutchGrown, you can also find award-winning tulip varieties and super popular ones. If I could recommend just one variety, it would be Kingsblood – it is elegant and provides a deep red shade that’s rarely seen in spring from other flower varieties.
2. Narcissus (AKA Daffodils)
Daffodils are an essential for spring, but if you aren’t a fan of the classic yellow shades then don’t worry. There are so many variations of Narcissus bulbs that come in yellows, white and even pale blush pink colours. The shapes and petals of the flower heads vary drastically too.
Of course, daffodils are pretty low maintenance. Besides deadheading them when their blooms fade, there’s little you need to do to keep them flowering and healthy once the bulbs are well established. Plant your daffodils in a sunny position and watch these hardy perennials re-emerge year on year.
The pompous globes of Allium bulbs are a wonderful way to spice up spring. Just remember to plan in advance so you can plant the bulbs in Autumn! Also referred to as ornamental onions, alliums come in a vast range of colours but the dainty white and blush pink colours are the most stunning, in my opinion.
Plant your allium bulbs among other plants that tend to be bothered by pests – mammals and insects. While the blooms of alliums are magnets for bees and butterflies, the slight garlicky aroma will repel serious pests including deer, native wild birds, and squirrels.
Did you know that crocus bulbs are one of the earliest bloomers in the UK? They pop up the second winter is officially over and grace those chilly spring mornings with the first pop of colour. The most popular crocus shades are ranges of lilac and yellow, but you can also find Crocus bulbs that are in shades of white and baby blue.
These hardy bulbs can grow in a range of settings and love to pop up on rockeries as well as flowerbeds and shady woodland areas. Like the bluebell and grape hyacinths (see below), they stay close to the ground rather than adding height.
Although Hyacinths are not my cup of tea, I couldn’t write an article about the best autumn planting bulbs without mentioning them. Come springtime, so many gardens across the UK bloom with hyacinths and it’s easy to see the attraction. Available in every colour in the rainbow, hyacinths have vibrant clusters of flowers growing in a dense oblong shape.
With a strong fragrance, they can fill out a flowerbed with dense flowers that are quite low to the ground. They create a nice contrast to taller flowers that bloom in your flowerbeds at this time of year. As always, you can find an amazing range of Hyacinth bulbs at DutchGrown.
6. Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)
Early flowering and with a sweet, musky scent, Grape Hyacinth are a springtime staple that you should plant in autumn. Not to be confused with bluebells, the tiny cup-shaped blooms come in pretty shades of blue, indigo and mauve – and every colour in-between. Growing in small clusters and close together, these autumn planting bulbs are excellent for wildflower areas and woodland cottage-core gardens.
As DutchGrown highlights, Muscari bulbs are some of the easiest you can grow. They do well in rockeries, flowerbeds, and containers alike. Plant once and watch them come back year after year with no effort at all.
With drooping blooms reminiscent of bluebells, Fritillaria are gorgeous British flowers that have been gracing our shores since Elizabethan times. You have a range of colours to choose from and the heights vary too, with some staying quite low and others towering over flower beds.
Fritillaria bulbs are herbaceous perennials that are part of the lily family and prefer well-drained soil. They are pretty hardy, surviving clay heavy soils too. So long as they have a full-sun position, they will continue to bloom with bright colours for a long time throughout spring. They make for fragrant cut flowers to bring inside too.
Iris flowers are a staple in spring when it comes to my garden. I love the classic inky blue shades of the blooms… but did you know that Iris bulbs come in a vast range of colours? These hardy perennials are often the first to bloom in your garden with early spring colour. If blue makes you feel blue, opt for luscious purples or find fiery red and orange varieties instead.
Irises are great for flowerbeds as different varieties reach different heights. Some grow from half a metre to a metre tall, while others are reminiscent of crocus (see above) and hover just 10cm above the earth.
Although they are members of the buttercup family, Anemone bulbs can flower in so many delicate shapes and vivid colours. Anemone bulbs have been described has ‘hard-working’ and ‘prolific’ so they are one of my top choices for gardeners that need a tough autumn bulb. The trick to getting the most out of them is to soak the bulbs in water before planting!
At DutchGrown, Anemones come in a range of award-winning varieties and colours. The classic white windflowers are excellent for surrounding a statement plant in a flowerbed, or you could go for the delicate shades of pink, lilac and baby blue for some extra impact.
10. Dichelostemma – Unusual Autumn Planting Bulbs
My last autumn planting bulb is a more unusual choice. Dichelostemma are native to North America and grow beautifully in our climate. They have clusters of hanging flowers that are full of nectar – a real bee and butterfly trap! These bulbs are also perennials, so you can plant them once and enjoy the blooms year after year.
Dichelostemma are frost hardy but not totally hardy, so cover the bulbs with some mulch to help them last through winter. Plant them in a south or west-facing flower bed with full sun exposure to help them grow and bloom to maximum effect.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article! If you want to bring some fresh green garden life into your home, I recommend reading my Boston Fern Care Guide next.