Bulbs for Shade

Bulbs for shade gardens make your shady areas look loads better with refreshing flashes of color given by their flowers. Why put up with a dull and unused shade area of the garden when you can plant some fantastic bulbs to brighten it up.

I’ll help you explore what are collectively referred to as bulbs and which ones are suitable for shade.


  • what bulbs are
  • examples of bulbs that are generally easy to plant
  • when to plant your bulbs for a shade garden
  • tips on fertilization

What are Bulbs?


A bulb is an underground vertical shoot with modified leaves (or thick leaf bases) that store food for an undeveloped plant, for example, TulipsBluebells, and Daffodils.


A corm is a vertical underground stem which develops a bud at the tip and roots, for example, Gladiolus.


A rhizome is a horizontal stem of a plant that typically thrives underground, which delivers roots and shoots out of the ground, for example Irises and Lily of the valley.


Occasionally mistaken for a bulb, a tuber is the enlarged or fleshy part of an underground stem which stores nutrients for new plants developing from buds or ‘eyes’, for example Dahlia and Potato.

Easy Bulbs to Plant

Although most bulbs prefer a full blanket of sun that lasts about six to eight hours per day, plant spring bulbs that flourish under shade of deciduous trees.

Early bloomers easily thrive under shady lighting conditions due to the lack of leaves on trees during their development. These are considered some of the best bulbs to plant for impressive results:

Some companion selections go nicely together:

Fun-sounding bulbs make great conversation pieces:

To add an inviting arrangement, consider foliage bulbs such as the colorful red bursts of Caladiums with their attractive leaves.

When to plant bulbs

When planting your spring flowering bulbs, place them at a depth that is two to three times their height. For the majority of the most common selections such as daffodils and tulips – this is around eight inches deep.

Remember to plant daffodils, tulips, and hyacinth with their root plate pointing downward and the tip of the bulb pointing towards the sky.

Avoid planting bulbs too close to trees with shallow roots – like beech, maple, and dogwood. These will battle your bulbs for water and nutrients, threatening the blooms for the next year.

Adequate Fertilization

When bulbs for shade are planted close to trees and other shrubs, soil fertility is often a consideration as bulbs compete for water and nutrients.

Adequate fertilization is a must for cultivating strong plants. A spring application of balanced fertilizer is suggested with a follow-up of one to two applications throughout the growing season.

Most shade bulbs thrive in well-drained soil, while roots saturated with water will rot. If you live in a location with sandy soil, add organic material in order to slow water traveling through the soil, giving your plants a chance to absorb the liquid.

With little effort bulbs for shade gardens can easily become a wonderland of varying heights, textures, and colors.

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