Winter planting: Spring Bulbs for Terrace gardening

  • In this article you will find:
  • Winter Planting: (It might still be a good time to plant your spring bulbs)
  • My reasons for choosing Wild and Native Spring Bulbs for Terraces
  • Shopping List for my Client Projects
  • Benefits of Wild and Native Spring Bulb Flowers
  • Answering FAQs & Where to find Native/Organic Spring Bulbs

Crocus tommasinianus by Jack Blueberry via Unsplash
Crocus tommasinianus by Jack Blueberry via Unsplash

Winter Planting for Spring Bulbs

I feel you: You have great plans, but life gets in the way. This year, you swore, you will plan and plant your spring bulbs early. How is it end of the year again? And why do I feel like this every year?


No need to sweat it, though... Just know that while October / November is the general recommendation for fall planting, it's completely acceptable to plant bulbs in December / January if the ground or soil in planters isn't frozen yet. All the pros do it - with success! That actually goes for perennials as well. These fall and winter planted lucky guys will have a head start come spring!



My reasons for selecting spring bulbs for terraces

So let's get to it: My favorite wild and native spring bulbs and why I selected them. The most crucial aspect for me: gardening must not be complicated. I'm a mom and solo-preneur and lack the time, space, and nerves to plant flower bulbs year after year, then dig them up again and store them in cool, dark places. That's why I've turned to wildflower bulbs. They can stay in the ground and over time, they multiply through bulb offsets, creating dense tufts. 


Another advantage of wild tulips, crocuses, and more: their simple, open flowers provide essential pollen and nectar for early bumblebee queens, early wild bees and other flower-visiting insects in spring.


Crocuses, wild tulips, and Muscari often stay small, making them perfect for a windy balcony and the container plantings on my clients' rooftop terraces.



My shopping list for my client projects:

Galanthus nivalis - Photo by Alexey Fedenkov on unsplash
Galanthus nivalis - Photo by Alexey Fedenkov on unsplash





So, here's a peek at the shopping list for my projects:


Snowdrop - Galanthus nivalis ssp. nivalis

This classic can't be missing, can it? 


Dwarf Tulip - Tulipa humilis 'Helene'

Elegant selection of wild tulips: pink-violet petals with a yellow base starting from March.


Woodland Tulip - Tulipa sylvestris

Elongated, yellow flowers with a violet scent for sunny meadows, blooming between April and May.


Muscari by Ken Goulding on Unsplash
Muscari by Ken Goulding on Unsplash











Grape Hyacinth - Muscari armeniacum

Fragrant, vivid blue flowers starting from April – great for planters or bed edging.


Fun Fact: Did you know that bumblebees prefer blue-violet flowers because this color promises warm nectar?


Eranthis hyemalis by Jack Blueberry on Unsplash
Eranthis hyemalis by Jack Blueberry on Unsplash






Winter Aconite - Eranthis hyemalis

These early spring messengers remind us that winter is truly, truly almost over. Invaluable for this reason alone. But also indispensable as an early bee food source.


Yellow Wild Daffodil - Narcissus pseudonarcissus ssp. lobularis

Childhood memories for me - the native wild daffodil as a natural beauty from March.


Balkan Crocus - Crocus chrysanthus / C. flavus / C. tommassinianus

Pale-yellow or purple flowers in February and March, once again, an important bee pasture. Prefers sunny and semi-shaded, dry locations (but also thrives in light shade).










Bonus Plant - Because it brings so much joy:


Purple Sensation Allium - Allium aflatunense 'Purple Sensation'


Not native and definitely not a wild variety, but because it's such a superb bee magnet in May and June and kids absolutely love it!


Beware: It is top-heavy and reaches a height of 40-60 centimeters, so it's best to grow them in a corner that is not super windy.


Remember, while October/November is the general recommendation for planting, it's completely acceptable to plant these bulbs in December/January if the ground or soil in planters isn't frozen yet.

Benefits of Wild and Native Spring Bulbs

Crocus tommasinianus by Jack Blueberry on Unsplash
Crocus tommasinianus by Jack Blueberry on Unsplash

So, let's summarize - Wild spring bulbs hold several advantages:


1) Ease of Maintenance and Multiplication: They're incredibly low-maintenance and multiply on their own – simply leave them in the ground.


2) Nature's Welcoming Design: With their simple, open flowers, they offer easy access to nectar and pollen for bumblebees and other pollinators.


3) Early Bloomers: These bulbs bloom exceptionally early in the year, providing a vital source of energy for emerging bumblebee queens.


4) Balcony and Terrace Friendly: Wild crocuses, tulips, and other early spring bulbs tend to stay short, making them ideal for windy balconies and rooftop terraces.


5) Robustness of Wild or Native Species: Often, wild or native species are hardier and more resilient compared to cultivated varieties.

FAQs and where to find organic and native spring bulbs

Does it make sense to buy organically grown flower bulbs? Whenever possible, I opt for organic flower bulbs. Conventional flower bulbs can be heavily pesticide-laden. Nectar from these plants can act as insecticides for several years after planting, inadvertently reversing the good intention into the opposite effect. 


Why choose wild flower bulbs? Wildflower bulbs or botanical bulbs are incredibly robust. Given the right conditions, they spread and multiply vigorously. Wild forms, not only in flower bulbs, typically have unfilled flowers, making them easily accessible for nectar-seeking insects.


Where can I buy wildflower bulbs in organic quality? If you're looking to make a purchase for this year, these online retailers offer (organic) assortments of wildflower bulbs: 



Organic selection, some flower bulbs also available only from conventional selection 


UK & British Isles:

Organically grown wildflower bulbs and perennials.



Non-GMO, including organic varieties. 




So, how about you? Are you late to planting spring bulbs this year - or were you done by end of November?

What are your favorite bulbs? Let me know in the comments!

Write a comment

Comments: 0