Deer Proof Bulbs

Did you give in to the temptation and buy tulip bulbs and now they’re still sitting in your garage, staring at you as you walk by them each morning?  Perhaps you set aside some Daffodil bulbs and now you can’t find them.  Where are they?  Now I remember…Well the good news is that now is a perfect time to tuck those spring beauties into the ground.  You may have to dodge a few raindrops, but the weather is just right.  It has cooled down, and more importantly the soil has cooled down.  The rain has loosened up the soil, so digging is easier.

Hopefully there is a bit of bare ground in your garden that is in serious want of spring color.  However, if it is jam-packed like mine, you can always tuck some into pots, to place where you need the color when spring arrives.  This works great if you’ve forgotten what bulbs you already have in the ground.  Don’t forget you can “layer”.  Two different takes on this, the first being that you can plant daffodils at a lower depth, then grape hyacinths, and finish off with crocus near the soil line.  Another way to think about layering is to think of deciduous shrubs and small trees (those pesky plants that lose their leaves in the fall) and plant bulbs at their base.  When the leaves come out in the spring, the ground will be obscured, but if you select early-blooming bulbs, they will make a floral show while you can see through to them.  This works best with bulbs that tolerate partial shade.

For bulbs to grow well, make sure your soil drains well.  Mix in compost if necessary.  If you have an eternally soggy area, plant in pots.  Add a bulb fertilizer when you plant the bulbs.  Plant at the right depth.  And you’re good to go.

One final great thing about bulbs-many of them are deer proof.  Isn’t it great to find something that blooms that the deer don’t eat?  The following is a list of bulbs the deer generally don’t like:

Allium-ornamental garlic/onions

Amaryllis belladonna-sometimes called “Naked Ladies”

Calla Lily

Chionodoxa-Glory of the Snow



Frittilaria-Crown Imperial and Snakehead Frittilaria


Leucojum-Spring Snowflake

Scilla-Bluebells (These spread prolifically)

Possible Safe Bets:

Colchicum-Autumn “crocus”


Eranthus-Winter Aconite


Lycorus-Resurrection Lily

Muscari-Grape Hyacinths (these spread prolifically)

About Brenda Powell

I'm one of the owners of a family-owned retail nursery. I have a degree in horticulture from Oregon State University. I love to garden and read. My technically savvy but horticulturally challenged husband, Mitch, spends most of his time as slave labor in the garden. Thank goodness he adores me! My goal in this blog is to share my enjoyment of gardening, my love of nature, and my addiction to books. Did I mention I like to cook, too?
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