The earliest bulbs to bloom in my garden are the tiny Puschkinia scilloides ‘libanotica’ (striped squills). The flowers grow in a shady area on the northern side of my house. These bulbs are extremely hardy, and shrugged off being covered in snow after they had grown their full height. The buds of these plants went into suspended animation for a while when mostly covered in snow, but now they are are opening again. They are white with bright blue stripes going to the tip of each petal on the flower. The blossoms are in elongated clusters with multiple blooms. Ordinarily I’m not enthusiastic about striped flowers, but these subtle blooms are enchanting. The leaves are upright, thickened, slightly arched, and a rich green. This small bulb is altogether charming and well worth growing.
I enjoy this bulb, so I planted the all white version last fall, P. libanotica ‘Alba’. (white striped squill). It is a dainty little bulb with an identical leaf habit and similar flower clusters. They live up to their name, since ‘Alba’ refers to a white flower, but while the flowers are pretty, they lose some of the charm that the blue stripes give to the other version. You can see a photo of the white striped squills that tried to bloom in April. That snowy photo shows you their hardy nature.
One benefit to these small bulbs is that their foliage dies back quickly, so they don’t look messy for long after they’ve flowered and they make room for the next round of flowers. Both of these are hardy bulbs for a cold climate, that tolerate some shade. They are early risers, so they extend the season, and give you something to look forward to after a long winter.
Here is some more information about some other blue flowering spring bulbs.
Which Puschkinia do you prefer?