Dot spring landscape with color

I was recently looking out my window and growing tired of the dull, dreary winter. I told my wife I couldn’t wait for some spring plantings to pop up.

I was often asked, “What can I plant to bring some spring color to my landscape?” I have planted tulips, daffodils, crocuses and hyacinths for some vibrant spring colors. These bulbs are known for their beautiful blooms and can add a burst of color to your landscape. However, some plants like tulips also seem to be irresistible edible treats to the local herd of deer in my area. If you want a really nice tulip flower garden, I recommend planting a new batch of bulbs each year in October and maybe adding a fence.

If you have deer in the area that frequently appear on your property, consider planting daffodils, hyacinths and snowdrops instead. These are generally less appealing to wildlife due to their taste and toxicity. However, keep an eye on your pets around these plants too.

Iris and hellebores are often less attractive to most animals. Hellebores should be considered for shaded areas too. Incorporating these options can help deter wildlife from munching on your spring blooms. Use gloves and long sleeves when weeding around hellebore plants as they can cause skin irritation.

When designing your spring garden, you must plan ahead. Bulbs generally are planted the previous fall (October) to over-winter in the garden beds. Some plant bulbs may also be placed in containers, chilled and then moved inside to force a plant to bloom. Some flowers can be planted from bulbs, corms and tubers in late winter and early spring.

Here are some ideas for bulbs to consider and some tender bulbs to consider. Tender bulbs can be planted now — in pots and indoors — to get them off to a faster start.

• Anemone has great foliage throughout the summer then blooms pink or white in August through September and grows in poor soil.

● Caladium plant is grown for its exceptionally colored elephant ear-shaped leaves. The foliage comes in pinks, white, red and green. The plants will grow in the deepest shade. We typically treat these plants as annuals and store inside.

● Crocosmia grows from corms, much like gladioli. Crocosmia is a cold hardy perennial. Tall leaves form a grassy mound. Long and arching flower stems produce beautiful flowers. Plant in partial shade to full sun.

● Dahlias are tuberous plants that produce a variety of flowers, in many shapes and colors. Dahlias are not cold-hardy, so tubers should be dug up each year and stored inside.

● Elephant Ears are grown as a foliage plant. They produce huge leaves up to three feet in length. These can be started NOW in pots indoors, but require lots of water during the growing season.

● Gladiolus are not generally cold hardy plants but are a family favorite. The tall flower spikes are adorned with flowers that bloom all up the stalk. Some varieties have been found to survive our winters if planted close to foundation walls in a sunny location.

● Peonies are one of our favorite flowers. They bloom in late May until mid-June in pink or white.

If you love spring flowers and tender bulbs you can plant now for the summer season, go to:


Eister is an Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer in Mahoning County.


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