Top 10 Bulbs to Plant in Fall That You Aren’t Growing Yet

Turn to this list for the best bulbs to plant in fall for carpets of color the following year.

Pagoda trout lily
Jacky Parker Photography/Getty Images

Bulbs to Plant in Fall: Pagoda Trout Lily

Erythronium californicum, Zones 3 to 9

Pagoda is one of the largest trout lilies, standing up to a foot tall. With sulfur yellow flowers, it brightens partly shaded gardens, and deer and rabbits leave it alone. This lily goes dormant after blooming, so plant these bulbs in fall among perennials that start to shine in early summer.

Why we love it: In addition to the bright flowers, the plant’s leaves are a glossy green, sporting bronze and maroon markings that fade later in the season.

Check out the best websites for buying flower bulbs online.

Camas
Kevin Schafer/Getty Images

Camas

Camassia leichtlinii SSP. suksdorfii, Zones 5 to 9

Lovely stalks of blue-purple star-shaped flowers grow up to 4 feet tall and bloom from April to May. Camas plants tolerate a range of soils from clay to wet or dry ground, and work well in rain gardens. The flowers come in an array of colors, including white, purple, blue and cream. The yellow anthers make flower petals pop.

Why we love it: Camas is native to the western U.S., and bees appreciate the pollen in late spring.

Here’s the ultimate guide to planting spring bulbs.

Spring starflower
Malcolm Haines/Alamy Stock Photo

Spring Starflower

Ipheion species, Zones 5 to 9

The shape of the blooms is the best way to identify this plant, also known as springstar. The flowers exude a spicy fragrance and the leaves smell like garlic when crushed. Stems grow 6 inches tall in full sun and tolerate some shade. They look right at home in woodland  and rock gardens.

Why we love it: Bees and other early pollinators are attracted to the plant. 

Learn how and when to plant tulip bulbs for spring flowers.

Siberian squill
Ian Talboys/Alamy Stock Photo

Siberian Squill

Scilla siberica, Zones 2 to 8

Small clusters of brilliant blue flowers grow on stems accompanied by long strappy leaves. Their nodding heads look like a wave across the garden during a spring breeze. Do not plant Siberian squill in the Great Lakes region or the Northeast, where it’s invasive.

Why we love it: Siberian squill looks fantastic clustered around a tree and is hardy in very cold areas.

When does a red spider lily bulb bloom?

Persian lily
Marcus Lindstrom/Getty Images

Persian Lily

Fritillaria persica, Zones 4 to 8

From mid-to-late spring Persian lily puts on quite a show with its flowers, which range from deep purple to cream. The flowers can tower over the garden, maxing out at 3 feet tall. They prefer well-draining soil and full sun to part shade. Each stalk holds dozens of blossoms. It’s an excellent cut flower, adding drama to bouquets.

Why we love it: Persian lily adapts to varying soils, as long as they’re well-draining.

Check out our top 10 list of beautiful lily flowers to love.

Windflower
Swapan Photography/Shutterstock

Windflower

Anemone blanda, Zones 5 to 8

Windflowers are an excellent ground cover, and can be found in blue-purple, white and pink varieties. The lobed leaves add beautiful textured interest. You can also plant the tubers in pots mixed with other bulbs and perennials.

Why we love it: The plant features charming 8-inch-tall daisylike flowers and is disease and pest resistant.

Learn how to overwinter non-hardy bulbs.

Winter aconite, bulbs to plant in fall
ROMAOSLO/Getty Images

Winter Aconite

Eranthis hyemalis, Zones 4 to 7

Tough and resilient, winter aconites provide brilliant yellow morsels of joy in the garden as they begin to awaken around March in many areas. The tubers multiply over time, providing even more brilliant color. The low, buttercuplike flower’s frilly green collar accents the yellow petals. Full to part sun is ideal.

Why we love it: This low-grower shines along pathways, is exceptionally deer resistant, and can even grow under black walnut trees.

Get expert tips for growing grape hyacinth flowers.

bulbs to plant in fall, Gravetye Giant summer snowflake
TonyBaggett/Getty Images

Gravetye Giant Summer Snowflake

Leucojum aestivum, Zones 4 to 8

Growing a little over 2 feet tall once they’re established, Gravetye Giant features deep green, grasslike leaves and white, bell-shaped flowers with a green marking on the tip of each petal. It naturalizes in full sun or part shade, and the flowers smell slightly like chocolate.

Why we love it: You can plant these bulbs in fall in a range of soils, including clay. The bulbs are resistant to disease in well-draining soil.

Here’s how to keep squirrels from digging up flower bulbs.

Glory of the snow, bulbs to plant in fall
Botany vision/Alamy Stock Photo

Glory of the Snow

Chionodoxa luciliae, Zones 3 to 8

This diminutive plant stands 4 to 6 inches tall with blooms in purple, blue or sometimes pink with a white center. It covers the ground from March to April, depending on your location, and does well in snow. The plants fade quickly after the initial bloom, but come back year after year with the right care.

Why we love it: Glory of the snow grows under black walnut trees, deer don’t seem to care for it, and it makes lovely small flower arrangements in early spring.

Psst—check out crocus flower growing tips you need to know.

Spanish bluebell, bulbs to plant in fall
Jacky Parker Photography/Getty Images

Spanish Bluebell

Hyacinthoides hispanica, Zones 3 to 8

Spanish bluebell varieties come in shades of blue, pink and white with deep green foliage accentuating the 1-to-2-foot-tall flower stalks. Plant bulbs in fall in part sun to part shade for the best results. But Spanish bluebell also grows in full sun or full shade.

Why we love it: Pollinators can’t get enough and it’s a fantastic transitional bulb to bridge late spring and summer.

Next, discover the best daffodil bulbs to plant.

Eva Monheim
Eva Monheim is a horticultural and environmental consultant, garden coach, and an award winning educator. She is a faculty member at Longwood Gardens for the Professional Horticulture Program and Continuing Education Department where she teaches Woody Plants and related subjects. Monheim’s newest endeavors are the award winning The Plant a Trillion Trees Podcast. She is the author of Shrubs & Hedges: Discover, Grow, and Care for the World’s Most Popular Plants, which was nominated by The Council on Botanical & Horticultural Libraries for outstanding contributions to the literature of horticulture. She is co-principal of Verdant Earth Educators, LLC (VEE) a company that trains professionals and consumers in the green industry.