Best Spring Bulbs for Sun and Shade: Bulbs That Grow in Shade and Full Sun

(Image credit: kaorinne)

Bulbs are beautiful harbingers of spring. Most flower bulbs thrive in full sun, but what if you have a mostly shaded landscape? Don’t despair -- there are flowering bulbs for partial shade, although few bulbs will thrive in heavy shade. Read on to learn about not only full sun flower bulbs but shade loving bulbs as well. 

Full Sun Flower Bulbs

Most summer blooming bulbs require at least 6 hours (preferably more) of sun per day. The following full sun flower bulbs are in the latter category and thrive with full sun all day long. 

All of the bulbs listed above are full-sun flower bulbs that should receive eight or more hours of sun. 

Flowering Bulbs that Grow in Partial Shade

Some bulbs typically thought of as being shade lovers can actually thrive in partial shade; six hours of sunlight. Flowering bulbs for shade include:

All of the above can be grown in sun but will also thrive in partial shade. Also the low woodland tulip (Tulipa sylvestris) will do well in sun or shade. 

All summer blooming bulbs should have a site that is well-draining with light, nutrient rich soil. Plant full sun or shade loving bulbs two to three times as deep as the bulb is tall, and space them 2-5 inches (5-13 cm.) apart in massed plantings for full impact. 

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.