spring bulbs: the best spreaders
You’ve often heard that some bulbs perennialize, while others naturalize. Have you ever wondered about the difference between the two?
PERENNIALIZER — A planted bulb that grows and blooms for at least three years in a row is considered a good perennializer. The same bulb regrows and may increase in size, but doesn’t really spread.
NATURALIZER — A bulb that will not only return but also multiplies and spreads is considered a good naturalizer. These work well for growing in a lawn. When growing naturalizers this way, try to let the bulb foliage turn yellow before you mow the grass in spring.
Here are four good early to midspring-blooming naturalizers and the regions where they grow best.
Checkered lily Fritillaria meleagris Checkered, bell-shaped purple or white flowers; tolerates wet soil; 6 to 12 in. tall, 6 in. wide; cold-hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8, heat-tolerant in AHS zones 8 to 1
Daffodil Narcissus hybrid White, cream, yellow, or orange flowers; different cultivars thrive in nearly every region; 4 to 24 in. tall, 4 to 12 in. wide; cold-hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9, heat-tolerant in AHS zones 9 to 1
Snowdrop Galanthus nivalis Lightly fragrant white flowers; plant grows in many areas but flowers last longest in temperatures below about 60 degrees; 4 to 9 in. tall, 2 to 3 in. wide; cold-hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9, heat-tolerant in AHS zones 9 to 1
Spring snowflake Leucojum vernum White or green flowers; very cold-hardy but also adapts to hot spring temps in Southern gardens; 6 to 12 in. tall, 12 to 18 in. wide; cold-hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9, heat-tolerant in AHS zones 9 to 1
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