Low Bulbous Plants For the Border

Low-growing bulbs are a beautiful addition to your spring garden. Either in small tufts, or in large patches in the garden, interspersed with mixtures of different bulbs they will create an unusual effect between your budding perennials. Some nice additions listed in order of flowering-time are:

Bulbocodium vernum

Bulbocodium vernum (spring meadow saffron), blooms in February-March with lilac-pink flowers. Height 5-8 cm. The leaves appear just after the plant blooms. Suitable for sunny and lightly shaded spots that are not too dry.

Brimeura amethystina 'Alba'

Brimeura amethystina 'Alba', blooms in April-May with white flowers. Height up to 20 cm. A very easy bulb crop that thrives anywhere, both in sun and in light shade.

Camassia cusickii 'Alba'

Camassia cusickii 'Alba', blooms in May, white. Height 60-90 cm. Camassia leichtlinii 'Caerulea' is a light blue flowering variety with the same height and blooming time. Camassia quamash blooms a bit later, in May-June, with bright blue flowers. Height up to 35 cm. All Camassias require nutritious, moist soil in partial shade. These are striking flowers that do especially well in somewhat wilder, naturally inspired borders.

Scilla peruviana

Scilla peruviana blooms in May-June with deep blue, star-shaped flowers. Height 20-30 cm. Suitable for a sheltered spot that gets very warm in summer. Also highly suitable for potting.

Ranunculus asiaticus

Ranunculus asiaticus blooms in May-June with pink-red peony-type flowers. Height up to 30 cm. These plants like fertile, nutritious soil that should never get too dry. Their hardiness is doubtful, so it is best to plant them in very sheltered areas or in pots.

Dichelostemma congestum 'Pink Diamond'

Dichelostemma congestum 'Pink Diamond' blooms in May-June with little purple-red flowers that bear a slight resemblance to the flowers that grow on chives. Height up to 60 cm. These plants like a warm, sheltered spot in fairly dry soil. Makes an excellent cut flower.


Brodiaea 'Queen Fabiola' and Brodiaea uniflora 'Candida' both flower in May-June, the former with clear blue flowers and the latter with pure white flowers. They grow up to 50-60 cm in height. They prefer a dry, warm spot and are ideal for providing definition in a lightly planted area of, for instance, low ornamental grasses such as Festuca or Hakonechloa or among clouds of Gypsophila repens 'Rosenschleier'.
A related plant is Triteleia 'Starlight' with cream-yellow, star-shaped flowers.
This species, with a long flowering period, is however much less tall (up to 20 cm) and is therefore more suitable for the rockery or borders with ground cover perennials such as creeping thyme or spiny cockleburr (Acaena). These plants flower in May-June.