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Deer Resistant Spring Blooming Bulbs

Spring Bulbs That Will Survive the Deer (and some rodents)


It's heartbreaking enough to put a plant in the garden, only to find it eaten to the ground the next day. But waiting all winter for your spring bulbs to bloom and then loosing them to deer is utterly frustrating. Tulips are wonderful, but they are also deer candy. If you must have tulips, treat them with a repellent, preferably a systemic repellent. Even then, the deer will try a bite or two until they realize that your tulips taste bad.

If you are plagued by deer browsing, consider spring bulbs that are less tempting to deer. We all know that deer don't like daffodils, but that doesn't mean your spring bulb garden has to be a swath of yellow. There are several other bulbs that deer tend to avoid. Of course I can't make any promised that the squirrels and armadillos won't dig them up, but that's another problem.

Deer Resistant Spring and Early Summer Flowering Bulbs


Ornamental onions are among the most deer resistant flowering bulbs. The most commonly know alliums have pom pom like blossoms on top of single, straight stalks. There is, however, a fair amount of variation in the species. Allium schubertii looks like a fireworks sparkler. Others, like Allium unifolium and Allium bulgaricum are bell shaped. You can find alliums in almost every color and height and their bloom times vary throughout the season. Allium are also rodent resistant.

  • Height: Varies (4" - 4')
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring - Early Summer
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Zones: 4 - 9


The bright colors of crocus are a welcome sign that the soil is starting to warm. Crocus will even bloom in the snow. This versatile little spreader can be used as a ground cover or as an accent. Plant a few by your mail box to make the walk down to collect your mail worth it.

  • Height: 4"
  • Bloom Time: Early Spring
  • Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Zones 3 - 9

DWARF IRIS ( Iris reticulata )

You get the familiar iris flower on a low growing, spreading plant that blooms early in the season. What's not to like. You can find Iris reticulata in blues, purples and white. They all blend extremely well with other spring bloomers.

  • Height: 4 - 6"
  • Bloom Time: Early Spring
  • Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Zones: 5 - 9

EARLY STARDRIFT (Puschkinia libanotica)

Another of Spring's blue offerings, this ttime ina pastel powder blue. Puschkinia makes a nice addition to the borer, but it also works well when allowed to naturalize and spread.

  • Height: 4 - 6"
  • Bloom Time: Early Spring
  • Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade
  • Zones 3 - 7


Fritillaria add a touch of drama to your spring garden. From the dramatic, loud colors of 'Crown Imperial', to the speckles of 'Guinea Hens' (Fritillaria meleagris ), the deep purple of Fritillaria persica, the bi-colors and the creamy white 'Ivory Bells", Fritillaria will be noticed. They look exotic, but they are fuss-free, easy growers. Fritillaria are also rodent resistant.

  • Height: Varies (10 - 24")
  • Bloom Time: Mid-Spring
  • Exposure: Full Sun to Shade
  • Zones: 4 - 9

GLORY OF THE SNOW (Chinodoxa forbesii )

Similar to Scilla siberica, Glory of the Snow works best as a ground cover or naturalized in the lawn. Each bulbs provides multiple blue, star-shaped blossoms with white centers, that start to bloom as the snow is melting.

  • Height: 4 - 8 "
  • Bloom Time: Early Spring
  • Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Zones: 3 - 9

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