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Unusual and Wonderful Pollinator Bulbs

Accent the garden and create a nectar rich haven for the bees and other pollinators with these unusual and wonderful spring flowering bulbs. Oh, there’s nothing more satisfying or relaxing than watching bees draw to and land among the blooms.

The World of Pollinator Bulbs…

Ipheion ‘White Star’ – Spring Starflower

The snow white star-shaped blooms of Ipheion ‘White Star’ or Spring Starflower, appear delicate and fragile, but in fact, the loveliness is hardy, robust and long-blooming. Held on slender stems, the mid to late spring blooms persist in spite of the weather, and are honey scented attracting early foraging bees. Deer resistant too, their foliage smells of garlic when crushed. These small bulbs thrive on neglect and easily naturalize into sizeable clumps that are ideal for mixed borders and rock gardens. White Star also performs well in containers, making a fabulous companion for anemones. What more could you want? Of course, more of them! Plant them in well-draining soils and full sun to part shade locations. Grows to 30 cm (12”) tall. Hardy to Zone 3.

Ipheion Uniflorum Alberto Castillo

Ipheion ‘White Star’ – Spring Starflower

Ipheion Uniflorum Alberto Castillo

The snow white star-shaped blooms of Ipheion ‘White Star’ or Spring Starflower, appear delicate and fragile, but in fact, the loveliness is hardy, robust and long-blooming. Held on slender stems, the mid to late spring blooms persist in spite of the weather, and are honey scented attracting early foraging bees. Deer resistant too, their foliage smells of garlic when crushed. These small bulbs thrive on neglect and easily naturalize into sizeable clumps that are ideal for mixed borders and rock gardens. White Star also performs well in containers, making a fabulous companion for anemones. What more could you want? Of course, more of them! Plant them in well-draining soils and full sun to part shade locations. Grows to 30 cm (12”) tall. Hardy to Zone 3.

Fritillaria Imperialis Rubra – Crown Imperial

Fritillaria Imperialis Rubra are often planted among tulips, the noble and impressive plants standing watch over them. Each thick stem features a cluster of scarlet red large pendant bell-shaped flowers. These are topped by a crowning tuft of strappy green leaves; hence, the common name, Crown Imperial. The bell flowers offer large droplets of nectar, much sought after by foraging bees and hummingbirds, while a distinctive musky scent repels moles and mice, not to mention the deer. Plant the bulbs 15 cm (6”) deep, in soil enriched with organic matter and well-aged compost. Fritillaria Imperialis blooms two to three weeks in mid to late spring. Grows to 90 cm (36”) tall. Hardy to Zone 5.

Florissa’s Tips!

Fritillaria Imperials are large bulbs, and by Mother Nature’s design, each has a thumbprint-like hole at its center. When planting, set the bulb on its side so that there is little chance of water collecting in this center hole. A layer of mulch also helps protect the bulb.

Fritillaria Imperialis Crown Imperial

Fritillaria Imperialis Rubra – Crown Imperial

Fritillaria Imperialis Crown Imperial - Strange and Amazing

Fritillaria Imperialis Rubra are often planted among tulips, the noble and impressive plants standing watch over them. Each thick stem features a cluster of scarlet red large pendant bell-shaped flowers. These are topped by a crowning tuft of strappy green leaves; hence, the common name, Crown Imperial. The bell flowers offer large droplets of nectar, much sought after by foraging bees and hummingbirds, while a distinctive musky scent repels moles and mice, not to mention the deer. Plant the bulbs 15 cm (6”) deep, in soil enriched with organic matter and well-aged compost. Fritillaria Imperialis blooms two to three weeks in mid to late spring. Grows to 90 cm (36”) tall. Hardy to Zone 5.

Camassia esculenta – Indian Hyacinth

Wild over much of North America, Camassia esculenta or Indian Hyacinth, blooms in late spring or early summer. Often found in marshy grasslands, it grows where soils are moist and fertile. First Nations people gathered and cooked these bulbs, storing them for food through the winter. It is said they taste like a potato. Camassia’s bright violet blue flowers are airy and dainty six petaled stars with yellow stamens, and appear at the top of narrow, grass-like stalks. Undisturbed by deer, they attract foraging bees and butterflies. Long-lived in the garden, Camassia is best suited for mixed borders, at waterside, or in lush grassy meadows. It flourishes with almost no attention and easily naturalizes. Grows to 30 cm (12”) tall.  Hardy to Zone 4.

Camassia Leichtlini Caerulea

Camassia esculenta – Indian Hyacinth

Camassia Leichtlini Caerulea

Wild over much of North America, Camassia esculenta or Indian Hyacinth, blooms in late spring or early summer. Often found in marshy grasslands, it grows where soils are moist and fertile. First Nations people gathered and cooked these bulbs, storing them for food through the winter. It is said they taste like a potato. Camassia’s bright violet blue flowers are airy and dainty six petaled stars with yellow stamens, and appear at the top of narrow, grass-like stalks. Undisturbed by deer, they attract foraging bees and butterflies. Long-lived in the garden, Camassia is best suited for mixed borders, at waterside, or in lush grassy meadows. It flourishes with almost no attention and easily naturalizes. Grows to 30 cm (12”) tall.  Hardy to Zone 4.

Allium Bulgaricum – Sicilian Honey Garlic

Late spring through early summer, the bees are simply lured to nectar rich Allium bulgaricum, commonly known as Sicilian Honey Garlic. Showy clusters of gracefully arching bell-shaped flowers top tall, almost leafless, blue green stems. Each fragrant bell flower opens in succession, putting on a long-lasting show, and the flowers are extraordinarily beautiful in a combination of deep rose pink, green and cream.  When crushed, the sparse foliage gives off a strong garlic scent which repels the deer and most other pests. Easy to grow in full sun to part shade and fertile, well-draining soils. Plant in groupings of 5-7 bulbs among perennials in the mixed border: Hostas, Papaver orientale, Alchemilla mollis and Persicaria. Allium bulgaricum easily naturalizes, creating a natural or semi-wild effect in the garden. Grows 90 cm (36”) tall. Hardy to Zone 6.

Allium Nectaroscordum Siculum Arrangement

Allium Bulgaricum – Nectaroscordum siculum – Sicilian Honey Garlic

Camassia Leichtlini Caerulea

Late spring through early summer, the bees are simply lured to nectar rich Allium bulgaricum, commonly known as Sicilian Honey Garlic. Showy clusters of gracefully arching bell-shaped flowers top tall, almost leafless, blue green stems. Each fragrant bell flower opens in succession, putting on a long-lasting show, and the flowers are extraordinarily beautiful in a combination of deep rose pink, green and cream.  When crushed, the sparse foliage gives off a strong garlic scent which repels the deer and most other pests. Easy to grow in full sun to part shade and fertile, well-draining soils. Plant in groupings of 5-7 bulbs among perennials in the mixed border: Hostas, Papaver orientale, Alchemilla mollis and Persicaria. Allium bulgaricum easily naturalizes, creating a natural or semi-wild effect in the garden. Grows 90 cm (36”) tall. Hardy to Zone 6.

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