9 Unique Bulbs You Should Consider Planting This Fall

Start planning now for a gorgeous garden next spring.

<p>Lisa Hubbard/Getty Images</p>

Lisa Hubbard/Getty Images

Summer is in full swing, but it’s actually not too early to start planning your fall bulb order. Certain bulbs should be planted during the autumnal months because they require cool soil to start sprouting and establishing their roots. Then they'll be strong and ready to bloom in the spring.

However, as you flip through your bulb catalog it is easy to get overwhelmed, especially when trying to decide between two dozen different daffodils and an ocean of tulips. So, we asked four garden experts to share their favorite bulbs for planting in the fall—here are their picks.


Plant bulbs in the ground before the first frost! Doing so ensures your bulbs can establish their roots and grow before the ground freezes.

Tulipa ‘Ollioules’

<p>by Mako/Getty Images</p>

by Mako/Getty Images

“This tulip is the prettiest pink tulip that I grow,” says tulip expert Polly Nicholson, the author of the recently published The Tulip Garden. Standing at up to 28-inches tall, it is ideally suited to container growing or in a cutting garden, according to Nicholson. She also notes that like other Darwin hybrids, it has “huge flowers with a slightly tapering classic tulip shape.”

Related: The Easy Beginner's Guide to Container Gardening

Tulipa ‘Peppermintstick’

<p>vencavolrab/getty images</p>

vencavolrab/getty images

Nicholson also loves Tulipa ‘Peppermint Stick,’ a clusiana hybrid that is also known as the lady tulip or Persian tulip. “It has candy-striped, narrow goblet shaped flowers, and has been grown by the cut flower industry for its striking appearance and early-flowering properties,” she notes, adding, “I have naturalized it along a herbaceous border, and it repeats flowers year after year,” which gardeners know is not the case with most tulips!

Narcissus ‘Polar Hunter'



English garden writer Sarah Raven, the author of A Year Full of Pots, says, “I am crazy about narcissus (aka daffodils) at the moment: They are so perennial, and with modern breeding so long performing, with good vase lives and excellent scent.”

For pots, her top picks are ’Starlight Sensation’ and ‘Polar Hunter,’ which she says both flower for well over a month. Polar Hunter with its pale green hue and multiple blossoms on one stem has a unique look. “Plant simply in a pot on their own, and once they’ve flowered, plant the bulbs in your garden,” Raven suggests.

Related: 27 Most Popular Perennial Flowers and Plants for Your Garden

Double Late Tulips

<p>AYImages/getty images</p>

AYImages/getty images

Both Nicholson and Raven are fans of these long bloomers. Nicholson says, “Double late tulips, also known as peony-flowered, work well when planted densely together en masse.”

In Raven’s trialing, peony-flowered tulips also excelled for pots, where she says they are “showy and rather magnificent.” Raven’s picks include ‘Black Hero’, ‘Royal Acres,’ ‘Orange Princess,’ and ‘La Belle Époque.’

Nicholson is partial to Tulipa ‘Wyndham’ for its “antique feel and bi-colored petals reminiscent of a faded burgundy silk edged in cream.” Nicholson suggests combining ‘Wyndham’ with ‘La Belle Époque’ and ‘Black Hero’ for a “beautiful, moody mix.”

Hyacinth ‘Dark Distinction'

<p>Ralf Menache/getty images</p>

Ralf Menache/getty images

Don’t snooze on hyacinth, which are due for a revival. Raven suggests two with unique coloring. “We had a great pot of Muscari latifolium and a really dark, indigo-blue hyacinth ‘Dark Distinction' this spring, and I’m repeating it for planting this autumn,” says Raven. “It smelt wonderful and lasted for six weeks plus between the two flowers.”

Tulipa 'Queen of the Night'

<p>sharynos/getty images</p>

sharynos/getty images

Garden designer Christina Koether, the founder of Nomadica in Weston, CT, likes the dark purple—almost-black—single petal ‘Queen of the Night’ for the contrast it can create. She often pairs it with pale lavender tulips, like Tulipa ‘Jacuzzi’ and Tulipa ‘Silver Cloud.’

Pearsoll also used ‘Queen of the Night’ in the Philadelphia Flower Show’s 2024 display.

Narcissus ‘Thalia’

<p>MichelR45/Getty Images</p>

MichelR45/Getty Images

Seth Pearsoll, the vice president and creative director of the Philadelphia Flower Show, included a show-stopping selection of bulbs in the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s 2024 display.

One daffodil that he highlights as a stand-out is Narcissus ‘Thalia,’ an all-white flower that has been popular since it was first introduced in 1916.

Related: 8 White Flowers You Should Consider Adding to Your Garden

Allium ‘Millenium’

<p>Martin Wahlborg/Getty Images</p>

Martin Wahlborg/Getty Images

Koether calls the Allium 'millenium,' which is a uniquely compact and clumping allium, “incredibly reliable as deer resistant.” The small purple globes pop in late summer when the garden starts to feel tired in the late summer. Koether notes that this bulb prefers full sun.

Lily Flowering Tulips

<p>Alex Manders/Getty Images</p>

Alex Manders/Getty Images

Pearsoll included several lily-flowered tulips, which have pointed petals that flare out similarly to lilies, in his show garden. His lily flowering tulip picks include Tulipa ‘Ballerina,’ a tangerine blossom with highlights of pink and magenta; Tulipa ‘Elegant Lady,’ which has creamy flowers edged in soft violet-red that mature to a pink-ish edge; and Tulipa ‘Purple Heart,’ which as its name suggests is a purple-maroon.

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