10 Best Bulbs for Southern Gardens

10 best bulbs for southern gardens. Atlanta landscaping

If you want to have a beautiful garden in the spring, fall is the time to start thinking about bulbs. “Bulbs” is a catchall term for corms, tubers, rhizomes and true bulbs that emerge in the spring. These underground parts act as food storage to ensure the plant’s survival over the winter months. From traditional early favorites like daffodils and tulips to later-blooming showstoppers such as iris and dahlia, planting in the fall will ensure your North Georgia landscape is photo-worthy by spring. Let’s take a look at our list of 10 best bulbs for southern gardens, including type, growth habits, and the best time and place to plant them.

True Bulbs

A true bulb is a short, fleshy underground organ that produces a vertical stem topped by a flower.

  1. Daffodil: Considered the happiest spring flower, these sunny blooms appear in late February to mid-March. Plant them in the fall, after nighttime temperatures are consistently below 60 degrees.
  2. Hyacinth: Coming in shades of blue, purple and white, hyacinths bloom in clusters and are best planted in sunny spots with well-drained soil.
  3. Tulip: Everyone loves spring tulips, but be sure to select the species rather than hybrid varieties if you’re looking for a perennial addition to your spring garden. Plant deep, at least 4-6 inches, in the front of beds and rock gardens


A corm is a rounded underground stem base that bears scaly leaves and buds.

  1. Crocus: Often the first to herald the end of winter, these early bloomers enjoy the morning sun, and should be divided every three years.
  2. Gladiolus: Usually hardy enough to withstand Georgia winters, these tall multi-bloom producers come in a rainbow of colors, but often require stakes to keep them upright.


A rhizome is a continuously growing underground stem that puts out lateral above-ground shoots.

  1. Iris: These late-spring beauties add ruffled elegance to any garden. Ranging in size from dwarf varieties to over three feet tall, irises can act as backdrop plants in perennial gardens, or specimens deserving their own bed. Some types prefer wet soil and can grow directly in water, making a colorful wetland addition.
  2. Canna: Adding a touch of the tropics to your late spring and summer landscape, these tall, sun-loving perennials are prized for their leafy foliage as well as their blooms.


A tuber is a thickened underground part of a stem or rhizome.

  1. Daylily: This prolific, drought-tolerant favorite is a must for hot Georgia summers, blooming from late spring until almost fall.
  2. Peony: Bearing showstopping blooms on a sturdy bush, be sure to protect these perennial favorites from the hot afternoon sun. Plant shallowly, barely an inch deep in the soil, for best success.
  3. Dahlia: A late-season bloomer, these eye-catching plants come in a rainbow of colors and sizes, and thrive in well-drained soil. Given the heavy clay in most of North Georgia, it’s important to amend your gardening beds with loose, organic material.

If you have additional questions about choosing from the 10 best bulbs for southern gardens, or need help designing your landscape beds, contact Oasis Landscapes & Irrigation!