By: Brent Heath, Co-owner, Brent & Becky’s
Undoubtedly one of the main reasons we love planting our gardens full of bulbs is because they’re incredibly low-maintenance. Seriously—plant them in one season and don’t worry about them until the next! How many plants can you say that about? But, while they may be more low-maintenance than many bedding plants, there are obviously some bulbs that will be more low-maintenance than others. Here are our top choices:
Alliums, or Ornamental Onions, are among the most interesting bulbs to plant in your garden. Presenting with big, beautiful globes of colorful flowers, they add a unique and compelling shape to the landscape that you just don’t see very often. They also happen to be one of the most low-maintenance bulbs you can plant! They don’t need regular deadheading unless you want to avoid self-seeding, and they naturalize quite easily. Deer aren’t fans of their fragrance, but pollinators love them, making it easy to get more pollinating power in your garden in the early summer. Plant them in full sun in a well-drained site. And plant them with ornamental grasses to help keep them dry during their dormancy.
Also known as Wood Hyacinths, Bluebells (Hyacinthoides) are not just a great way to bring more blue into your garden, they’re also incredibly low-maintenance! These nodding, bell-shaped flowers naturalize and spread quite easily on their own and are happy in almost any condition, from full sun to partial shade. They prefer rich, moist, well-draining soil to thrive. No matter where your garden needs some color, Bluebells are happy to fill in!
Another excellent choice for adding some blue, white and pink to the garden, Camassia is one of the few bulbs that are actually native to America! Right at home here in our gardens, these plants are beloved by pollinators, who recognize them easily. Camassia bulbs are used to our natural rain conditions and are moisture tolerant. They typically won’t need a helping hand from the watering can. To enjoy their tall spikes of starry blooms from late spring into the summer, plant them in a spot with plenty of sun!
A classic, spring bloom, Daffodils, or Narcissus, are long-standing favorites in any garden and for good reason. Their hardy nature and ability to clump quickly make them a perfect choice for any gardener who wants a long-lasting bloom they can count on for years to come. They are also pest-proof and just a sensational way to say hello to spring with sunny colors that will have you forgetting all about winter as soon as they appear. Plant them in full sun for best performance. Deer also are not fans of daffodils—bonus!
Grape Hyacinths (Muscari) are one of the most unique bulbs you can add to your spring garden. Just as the name implies, they almost look like a cluster of grapes, with bunches of bulbous, blue, white or yellow blooms huddled closely together. They aren’t just beautiful, though. They are also great low-maintenance bulbs, as they are excellent at naturalizing and, once settled, are also incredibly long-lasting. Plus, pollinators love them, pests don’t, and they offer a fruity fragrance that will almost trick you into believing you actually are looking at a bushel of grapes. Plant them in full sun to light shade.
For sensational star-shaped flowers that check all the boxes a low-maintenance bulb should, look no further than Scilla. Not only are they comfortable almost anywhere in the garden, from full sun to part shade, they’re also pest-resistant and drought-tolerant, so you won’t need to worry about keeping up with regular maintenance. If allowed free roam, these bulb blooms are happy to keep spreading as far as you’ll let them, so make sure to keep them in check if you don’t want them taking over other nearby plants.
When time is of the essence, and our gardens are the last thing on our list, low-maintenance bulbs are our saving grace. With easier care and less frequent upkeep needed, our gardens can once again become a place where we can sit and relax, without the extra work.