13 Beautiful Wildflowers That Grow From Bulbs

Are you looking for a few native wildflower bulbs to add some sparkle to your flower garden? You may be surprised to learn how many attractive and unique wildflowers grow from bulbs and tubers. No matter where you live, you are sure to find wildflowers to suit your gardening style and landscape conditions. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen shares 15 of her favorite wildflowers that you can grow from a bulb.

A close-up of a group of yellow trout lilies growing in a wildflower garden. The flowers are in full bloom, with six recurved petals that are a bright lemon-yellow color and emerge from the leaf litter on a mossy forest floor. Sunlight filters through the trees, casting dappled light on the scene.


Plants that grow from bulbs are much more than just daffodils and tulips. There are a number of beautiful and lesser-known wildflowers that grow from bulbs, tubers, rhizomes, and corms. While most wildflowers can be started from seed, the ease and convenience of growing plants from bulbs give you a huge head-start on nurturing your plants to maturity.

To ensure your best chances of success, choose the right plants for your location. If you select varieties that are hardy in your climate and are well adapted to the soil and sunlight conditions in your yard, you will be able to grow perennial wildflowers that bloom year after year. 

Allow your plants to naturalize in your garden, and they will multiply and thrive. Choose a variety of species that bloom in different seasons, and you will enjoy a very colorful year-round landscape. Pay close attention to the sunlight, soil, and moisture requirements of each plant so you don’t accidentally try to grow a water-loving species in a drought-prone landscape.

It doesn’t matter if you have a tiny patio garden or an entire large yard to fill. You can design a wildflower garden that works for you. Bulbs are so versatile that you can use them for any style of gardening. There are bulbs suitable for butterfly gardens, cottage gardens, woodland gardens, rain gardens, and xeriscapes. You will always want to do some research about the plants you choose to be sure they will thrive in your garden.

Start your research here as we introduce 15 beautiful wildflower bulbs that you can grow in a variety of garden styles

Blazing Star

Prairie blazing stars unfurl their feathery finery. A cluster of deep purple blooms, each petal tipped with a brushstroke of fine hairs, bursts from a slender stem, creating a mesmerizing texture with the sun-kissed grass behind.
This North American native wildflower boasts vibrant summer blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Liatris spicata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2.0 – 4.0 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3 – 8

Blazing star is an immensely versatile plant that would be a welcome addition to a pollinator-friendly garden, native plant garden, or container garden. It grows well in full sun or partial shade. Blazing star plants love organically rich, moist, well-drained soil. This species is native to central and eastern North America and widely available commercially, although several other Liatris species are found throughout North America as well.

Blazing star plants bloom in the summer months and have a long blooming period. The flowers are typically lavender-purple but also appear in varying shades of pink and white. Tall flowering stalks open from the top down with rough starbursts of feathery flowers that pollinators love.

Leave the spent flower stalks standing, and they will become showy seedheads that goldfinches and other seed-eating birds will seek as a food source. Blazing star plants reproduce by seed and corms, spreading gradually to form attractive colonies.

Blue-eyed Grass

Spring whispers through a cluster of blue-eyed grass. Gossamer blades, kissed by dappled shadows, frame blooms of softest violet, pulsed with veins of deepest indigo. From their hearts, vibrant suns erupt - tiny spheres of yellow light, painting the scene with joy.
This perennial bulb produces star-shaped flowers in spring and summer.
botanical-name botanical name Sisyrinchium atlanticum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 0.5 – 1.5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 – 10

Blue-eyed grass is an herbaceous perennial bulb native to eastern North America. It is found growing in moist, open woodlands and along wetland edges, particularly in coastal areas. These plants do best in full sun but will tolerate light shade. The soil should be consistently moist and well-drained.

Blue-eyed grass has thin, grass-like leaves that, when not blooming, could easily be mistaken for dark green blades of grass. These plants bloom in the spring and summer with showy, star-shaped flowers.

Use blue-eyed grass as a border plant for your native wildflower garden, rain garden, or pollinator garden. Each spring, you can look forward to a few more new plants popping up as clumps slowly spread into a dense mass of blue-eyed grass leaves.

Calochortus Lily

A close-up view of two delicate mariposa lilies, their velvety white petals unfurling like soft, downy wings around a sunshine-yellow center. Delicate white stamens peek out from the heart of each flower, adding a touch of starry brilliance to this botanical portrait.
Calochortus lilies thrive in sunny, well-drained spots, offering varied colors and shapes across 70+ species.
botanical-name botanical name Calochortus spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 0.5 – 3.0 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3 – 8

There are over 70 species of Calochortus lilies, mostly native to the western United States. They are commonly known as ‘mariposa lily’ or ‘fairy lantern’, and each species is native to a different region, some being widespread and others having very narrow ranges. These plants are easily grown from bulbs in a sunny location with moist, well-drained soil. 

Calochortus lily flowers are showy and colorful. They include bright red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple-flowering species. The flower shapes may look like a poppy or tulip or more like a brightly colored butterfly, depending on the species.

When growing frost-sensitive Calochortus species in cooler regions, dig and overwinter the bulbs in a cool, dark location and replant the following spring after the danger of frost has passed so you can continue to enjoy your plants year after year.

Dwarf Crested Iris

A close-up view of two delicate mariposa lilies, their velvety white petals unfurling like soft, downy wings around a sunshine-yellow center. Delicate white stamens peek out from the heart of each flower, adding a touch of starry brilliance to this botanical portrait.
Late spring brings the showy bloom of dwarf-crested iris with attractive, short-lived pale purple flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Iris cristata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 0.5 – 1.0 foot
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3 – 9

The dwarf crested iris is a sweetly understated, low-growing plant native to the north-central and eastern United States. It would make a beautiful addition to a woodland garden or shaded rock garden. It performs best in a shaded location with rich, moist soil, as these are their natural growing conditions. Plants will readily spread by underground tubers and will slowly creep outwards to form a seasonal ground cover.

Dwarf-crested iris plants bloom in late spring. The flowers are very showy, blooming singly atop erect flowering stems. The flowers are pale purple and short-lived but quite attractive while in bloom.

Pollinators will also come to visit the flowers, making this a good option for a woodland pollinator garden. For the rest of the year, you can enjoy the masses of compact sword-like greenery.


A cascade of checkered purple Fritillaria meleagris blooms emerges from a soft-focus blur of green grass. The bell-shaped flowers feature an unusual checkerboard pattern of dark and light purple, their delicate petals gently drooping downwards. Slender green leaves add a touch of elegance to the scene.
Fritillary flowers bloom in various colors, with lily-like foliage staying green until dormancy.
botanical-name botanical name Fritillaria spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 0.75 – 1.0 foot
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3 – 8

There are a large number of species of fritillary plants, including many that are native to western North America and numerous colorful cultivars. They can be found growing naturally in open woodlands, moist meadows, hillsides, and coastal regions. They typically grow best in full sun with moist-well-drained soil. These plants are also drought-tolerant and perform well in containers and raised beds

Fritillary flowers are bell-like and come in a rainbow of colors. They may be bright orange, yellow, green, purple, or patterned. Depending on the species, fritillary flowers may bloom in the spring, summer, or fall, attracting seasonal pollinators.  The appealing, lily-like foliage stays green throughout the summer months before going dormant late in the season.

Large Camas

A dazzling close-up reveals a cluster of Great camas, their star-shaped petals ablaze in shades of purple. Sunlight paints dappled shadows across the scene, as some flowers unfurl their long, narrow blooms, while others remain coyly closed, their deep purple buds promising future beauty.
These large bulbs multiply rapidly and produce vibrant spring blooms in various colors.
botanical-name botanical name Camassia leichtlinii
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3.0 – 4.0 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5 – 9

Large camas is a showy bulb that’s native to western North America. It grows well in full sun or partial shade and prefers rich, moist soil conditions. Bulbs will multiply quickly and within a few years, you can expect a mass of flowers each spring with long-lasting foliage through the rest of the growing season.

Large camas bloom during the spring and make good flowers for cutting. The colorful spikes of six-petaled flowers may be white, creamy white, or purplish-blue. Grow them with other spring-blooming bulbs for a dramatic display. You can incorporate camas into your perennial wildflower garden, pollinator garden, or rain garden

Nodding Onion

A close-up of a cluster of delicate pink Nodding Wild Onion flowers, some in bud and others open, their long stamens tipped with yellow pollen. The flowers droop gracefully from their stems, creating a soft, cascading effect against a backdrop of lush green foliage.
Plant nodding onion for summer blooms in pink, purple, or white—perfect for prairies, woodlands, and gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Allium cernuum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1.0 – 2.0 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 – 8

Nodding onion is a variety of wild onion that is widespread and native throughout much of North America. It grows in open grasslands with well-drained soil. This would be an excellent plant for a pocket prairie, open woodland garden, rock garden, or pollinator garden. 

Nodding onion blooms in the summer. Each bulb sends up a long, leafless flower stalk with a loose umbel of small, nodding, bell-shaped flowers. The flowers are commonly pale pink but also may appear pale purple or white. The thin, grass-like leaves are rather inconspicuous, and you may not even notice these plants much until they display their delicate flowers.

Northern Spiderlily

Delicate Northern Spider Lilies unfurl their ivory grace, six slender petals reaching from a golden heart. Their petals, long and slender as spider legs, emerge from broad, emerald green leaves in a lush garden bed. Some blooms stand tall, while others gracefully bow, hinting at the fleeting beauty of summer.
Thriving in wetlands, northern spider lily attracts pollinators with fragrant, short-lived white blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Hymenocallis occidentalis var. occidentalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1.5 – 2.5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5 – 8

The northern spiderlily, also known as the Carolina spiderlily or woodland spiderlily, is native to the southeastern United States. This beautiful native lily is found in and around wetlands, floodplain forests, moist fields, and other low-lying areas with consistently moist soil. It grows well in full sun or light shade but is not picky about soil type as long as it stays moist.

Northern spider lily will be sure to catch your eye when it blooms. While this plant has a long summertime blooming season, each flower stays open for just one day. The large, white flowers are quite showy and fragrant, with six long, narrow, spider-like rays extending from each bloom.

These flowers will attract plenty of pollinators to your rain garden or riparian garden. Plants will multiply and spread to create attractive masses of long, erect, lance-like leaves.

Rain Lily

close up on a cluster of white rain lily flowers.
Fragrant rain lily flowers are perfect for enhancing pollinator-friendly gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Zephyranthes atamasca
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1.0 – 2.0 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7 – 10

Rain lily, as its name implies, loves wet conditions. It is native to the southeastern United States and grows naturally in and around wetlands and lowlands with regular soil moisture. For landscaping purposes, grow it in a naturalized wetland area or rain garden. All part of this plant is poisonous and should not be consumed by humans or animals. 

Rain lilies bloom in the springtime with beautiful white flowers. The flowers are showy and fragrant, reaching up to three inches across. They attract pollinators and would be a nice addition to a pollinator-friendly garden. The leaves are long, thin, and lance-like, resembling a tall, thickened grass.

Trout Lily

A Wisconsin native wildflower, the yellow trout lily, takes center stage in this close-up. Six buttery petals twist and twirl upwards, forming a delicate bell adorned with rusty-tipped stamens. A dreamy blur of forest peeks through behind, framing this springtime treasure.
The trout lily blooms early, adorning shady woodland gardens with yellow bells.
botanical-name botanical name Erythronium americanum
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial to full shade
height height 0.25 – 0.5 foot
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3 – 8

The trout lily is a spring ephemeral wildflower native to central and eastern North America. It is a common wildflower in moist woodlands where its leaves and flowers emerge early in the springtime and quickly go dormant again by the beginning of summer. In the home landscape, grow your trout lily plants in a shady woodland garden with consistently moist soil conditions. 

Trout lily is one of the earliest flowers to bloom each spring. The showy nodding flowers hang down like delicate yellow bells. They bloom for only a couple of weeks, followed by a rounded seed capsule that will eventually split open to drop a few seeds on the ground nearby. In optimal conditions, trout lily plants will spread by both seed and multiplying bulbs to form dense ephemeral colonies of attractive leaves and foliage.

Turk’s Cap Lily

Enhance your garden with Turk’s cap lily’s vibrant, six-inch orange blooms, attracting butterflies all summer.
botanical-name botanical name Lilium superbum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 4 – 8 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5 – 8

The Turk’s cap lily is a show-stopping dramatic lily plant native to the central and eastern United States. It grows naturally along woodland edges, moist meadows, and wetland edges. In the home garden, you’ll want to keep your Turk’s cap lily in a moist location, such as a rain garden or any low-lying spot in your yard that catches some extra water. Add a layer of mulch to protect the roots from drying out. It grows well in both full sun and partial shade.

Turk’s cap lily blooms in the summer and attracts many butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects. The showy flowers are impressively large, measuring up to six inches across. The six bright orange petals curve back until the tips almost touch behind the flower. This native lily is easy to grow in the home garden and would be a great addition to your native plant garden, cottage garden, or butterfly garden.


A cluster of delicate purple wildflowers, known as ookow. Their tiny, bell-shaped flowers are clustered together on slender stems, surrounded by a cluster of green leaves. Delicate wisps of green foliage provide a backdrop for the vibrant blossoms.
The grass-like leaves and tall stalks if Ookow are adorned with bright purple flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Dichelostemma congestum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2.0 – 3.0 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7 – 10

Ookow is a perennial wildflower native to western North America. It grows in open grasslands, hillsides, and meadows. It is easy to grow in a sunny location with well-drained soil. Ookow would be a lovely addition to your pollinator garden, rock garden, or xeriscape

Ookow grows from a bulb, each of which will produce a few long, grass-like leaves blooms. It sends up a tall, thin, leafless flower stalk in early summer, topped with a mass of bright pale purple flowers. These flower clusters are very showy and will attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators to your yard.

Wood Lily

Soft focus captures the delicate beauty of a wild wood lily. Six velvety red petals, veined with crimson, gently unfurl, revealing a touch of golden pollen at their heart. Slender, emerald green leaves frame the bloom, swaying gracefully in the unseen breeze.
Cultivating wood lily brings tall, erect stems with lance-like leaves and showy red-orange flowers to your pollinator garden.
botanical-name botanical name Lilium philadelphicum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1.0 – 4.0 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4 – 7

The wood lily is a spectacular perennial bulb native throughout much of North America. This plant grows in open woodlands, woodland edges, and moist meadows. It is a great plant for a pollinator garden, native plant garden, or cottage garden. 

Wood lily grows tall, erect stems lined with alternating lance-like leaves and a complete whorl of leaves near the top. Each stem is topped with one to three large, showy flowers that bloom in early to mid-summer. The flowers consist of six petals, which are each deep red-orange and spotted yellow towards the center. Butterflies and bees will enjoy visiting your wood lily flowers.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to plant wildflower bulbs?

In general, the best seasons for planting bulbs will be very early spring and fall. Anytime the weather is cool and mild will usually work well. Spring-blooming bulbs planted in the spring may not bloom in their first year but will probably bloom in their second year. Similarly, fall-blooming bulbs planted in late fall probably won’t have a chance to bloom in their first year but will be ready to bloom in their second year.

How do I keep squirrels from digging up my bulbs?

Squirrels, birds, and other small mammals love to dig in bare soil. They may sometimes eat your bulbs, and sometimes they’ll just dig them up and toss them around. In any case, you can cover your bulbs (and the surrounding bare soil) with a critter cage to help keep them safe until they start to grow. You can safely keep the critter cage in place until the bulbs sprout, but remove it when your plants grow a bit larger so they have plenty of space to reach their full potential.

Can I plant wildflower bulbs in containers or raised beds?

Many wildflower bulbs and corms do extremely well in raised beds and containers. Growing frost-sensitive bulbs in containers allows you to easily move your tender bulbs to a protected location during the winter months. Container gardening may not be ideal for those species that love wet soil conditions, but containers and raised beds are a great option for many other species!

Do I need to dig up my bulbs before the winter?

As long as you are growing plants hardy in your climate zone, you don’t need to do any fall digging! Simply leave your bulbs in the ground exactly as they are, and they will overwinter just fine. Adding a layer of organic mulch over your bulbs and flower beds will help prevent weeds, preserve soil moisture, and also protect more sensitive roots and bulbs from harsh winter freezes. If you are growing bulbs that are not hardy in your climate zone, you will need to dig them up and store them in a cool, dry, frost-free location during the winter.

Final Thoughts

Growing wildflowers offers the gardener so many rewards. You can add showy plants to your landscape, enjoy their colorful blooms throughout the growing season, and you can attract and support butterflies and other beautiful pollinators with your garden plants. Growing bulbs and corms is both easy and enjoyable.

These plants add diversity to your landscape and are bulbs to satisfy just about any garden style and environmental conditions. With so many colors and varieties, it’s hard not to love growing wildflowers, and the ease of growing mature plants from bulbs is an added bonus!

A meadow full of colorful blooms beckons diverse pollinators.


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Sunlit pink cherry blossoms, a sight of ethereal beauty. Their delicate petals catch the sunlight, casting a soft pink hue. In the backdrop, a blurred canvas of more flowers against the serene expanse of a clear, blue sky.


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