Bulbs That Defy Critters

Soon (late September) you can start planting your bulbs for next spring’s enjoyment. My favorite supplier is BrentandBeckysbulbs.com. You won’t believe the variety available–it’s a real collector’s catalog–and the service is terrific and the prices reasonable.

Daffodils are rarely eaten. Go nuts.

In the Hudson Valley, as in so many places, the deer, rabbits, and chipmunks love their bulb snacks–both the underground and aboveground parts, depending on the bulb. I don’t plant those big hybrid tulips anymore–they are like neon signs to deer that say “Eat Here.” I don’t plant crocus (chipmunk and squirrel snacks) either. But the good news is that there are many bulbs that are critter-resistant, and in a catalog like B&B’s, you get so many options. So for instance, knowing that daffodils are very unappealing to critters, you can peruse 10 or 12 pages of daffodil varieties including doubles, miniatures, and those with uncommon color elements like red, pink, apricot, and bright orange.

Species tulips and many miniature tulips, as opposed to the big hybrid tulips, are critter resistant. They are much smaller than their hybrid cousins but come in truly stunning colors like this one, Tulipa 'Little Beauty'

Here’s a list of the critter-resistant bulbs I recommend to friends and clients. It’s not comprehensive but gives folks a place to start so they can heal from past wounds over bulbs having been devoured: Daffodils (early, mid and late season varieties, so you can have daffodils for nearly 3 months), Species Tulips, Scillas (those cute little blue, white, or pink flowers in early spring), Winter Aconites, Snowdrops, and Alliums (ornamental onions).

'Rip Van Winkle' daffs have crazy hair.

If you do dearly want to grow those big hybrid tulips, to increase your chances of success, spray the foliage and flower buds with Deer Away at least once a week.

'Tete-a-Tete' mini daffs are one of the earliest to bloom

4 Responses to “Bulbs That Defy Critters”
  1. vintagejenta says:

    Do iris count as bulbs? My mom always had some adorable, teeny Siberian iris that I loved. I had some volunteer daffodils and grape hyacinth this spring (I love grape hyacinth!). I may have to get my act together and plant some bulbs this fall! Especially since my front flower bed apparently has poor soil and is full of weeks (none of my herbs grew). I will eventually dig it out and replace with compost, but bulbs would be nice in the meantime. Plus it’s in full sun and next to the house, making it a nice warm spot for spring flowers.

    Any recommendations? Besides more daffodils and grape hyacinths?

  2. Irises can come from bulbs (the little Dutch irises and the even littler reticulated irises) and from rhizomes (Siberian irises, bearded, Louisiana,Japanese). Since you’ve had critter trouble in your yard I suggest the safe list of daffodils of all kinds and season,species tulips (no big hybrids),scillas, winter aconites, snowdrops, and alliums.

    • vintagejenta says:

      Soo…. I checked the pitiful remains of my garden today… and something had eaten all the bunching onion tops. So apparently even alliums aren’t immune to the crazy rodents that live in my yard!

      I am totally going to do daffodils, snowdrops, and scillas, though. If I get my act together and order before it’s too late, that is! Lol.

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  1. […] and try to defend it from woodchucks and deer this year. Already planted TONS of spring bulbs (thanks for the suggestions, Michelle!), but some food will get planted too. Already have some sorrel seeds ready for planting in early […]

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