Bad tasting bulbs are a good thing

Thu. Aug. 29, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Bad tasting bulbs are a good thing

Why would bad tasting bulbs be a good thing?  Because deer, squirrels and other rodents list them as last choice on the buffet called your garden!  Colorblends President Tim Schipper is a 3rd generation bulbsman out of Connecticut and he shared a list of bulbs that are a feast for our eyes but not on the squirrels menu.

  • daffodils
  • snow drops
  • snow flakes
Daffodil ‘3D’
These are the only Snow Drops I want to see! At least for a while!

All three of these bulbs contain lycorine, a bitter alkaloid that’s toxic when eaten.

These bulbs are critter resistant in varying degrees due to their bad taste:

  • alliums
  • starflowers – there are native (white) and cultivars (blue)
  • glory of the snow
  • blue squill
Starflower ‘Blue Spring’ by Breck’s
Allium – Globemaster

Unfortunately, tulips and crocuses, which are eye candy for us are candy for deer and rodents!

Your best bet if deer are the biggest problem are:

  • Allium
  • Camassia – which looks a bit like hyacinth (with varying shades of white and purple) – it also likes the soil a bit more acidic
  • Glory-of-the snow
  • Winter wolf’s bane aka winter aconite – a darling little yellow cutie
  • Frittilaria – ‘Crown imperial’ is yellow ‘Aurora’ is orange.  The flower heads hang down
  • Fritillaria meleagris aka checkered lily aka Snake’s head –  a purple flower whose single bloom hangs downward
  • Starflower
  • Blue squill
Camassia by American Meadows
Frittalaria ‘checkered lily’
Crown Imperial collection by Breck’s
Winter aconite by Brecks

And there you have it, no smelly sprays, fences or firearms… just bad taste.