You’ve planned and planted and loved your summer flower garden. You’ve even grown a few of tomatoes and veggies this year. But now it’s time to plan for more colorful flowers for a show of color next spring. That’s right: next spring. That’s because if you want easy, carefree spring color, you need to plant spring-flowering bulbs this fall. The great thing is that most bulbs are as low maintenance as it gets, and they’re relatively inexpensive, too. Plant them once, and most types come back for years. Just make sure they’re suited to survive winters in your USDA Hardiness zone (find yours here).

When planting spring bulbs, get them in the ground in a sunny spot before the ground freezes (that’s late fall for most of the country). Dig a hole that’s about two to three times the height of your bulb, and stick it in pointy-side up. If you’re not sure which end is up, plant them on their side in the hole. Nature will know what to do! For the most dramatic effect, plant in groups, rather than one or two here and there in your landscape. That’s all you need to do to enjoy flowers that will pop up next spring, just about the time when you can’t take one more gloomy winter day.

One last tip: Next year, let the foliage fade and wither naturally before removing it so the bulb can make more food to bloom again next year (it’s that whole photosynthesis thing at work!).

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Our favorite spring-blooming bulbs:

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1. Daffodil

These sunny flowers are a true sign of spring, blooming from early to late spring in a multitude of colors from lemony yellow to pure white with pink or orange centers. Heights range from a few inches tall to a foot or more, and There are even fragrant types. They’re also not particularly tasty to digging rodents, which is a big plus if you have lots of friendly little chipmunks or squirrels in your garden.

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2. Hyacinth

The gorgeous scent of hyacinths drifting on the breeze will remind you spring really has arrived. They come in every color you can imagine, and they’re another bulb that’s not appealing to rodents or deer. Group them together for maximum impact.

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3. Grape Hyacinth

Consider these the baby brothers of hyacinths. They look very similar in appearance and have a light, grape-y scent, but they top out at only a few inches tall. Their grassy foliage is attractive even after the bulbs have faded. Plant at the front of borders or in rock gardens.

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4. Tulip

Tulips come in every imaginable form and color from single flowers to lush double petals that resemble peonies. Many types bloom in mid to late spring, but unlike other spring bulbs, many don’t do well in subsequent seasons, so they’re treated as annuals with new bulbs planted again in the fall. They’re also irresistible to rodents, so interplant with daffodils to throw them off the scent or try repellants (which may or may not work, depending on how determined your neighborhood critters are). Or bury bulbs surrounded by a cage of chicken wire to protect them.

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5. Crocus

These are some of the earliest bulbs to appear in late winter, sometimes even when snow is still on the ground. The tiny corms, which resemble smooshed grapes, are loved by rodents, so plant these with other less tasty bulbs or in containers to protect them from hungry wildlife.

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6. Allium

These whimsical flowers, which are flowering ornamental onions, are globes of color that range from a foot to a few feet tall. They’re mostly purple or white, though some varieties are pink, yellow or fuchsia, and they bloom in late spring. Deer and rodents won’t bother them.

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7. Fritallaria

If you’re looking for something a little more unusual, plant fritallaria. These striking plants boast bright bell-shaped flowers on long stalks. So eye-catching! Some types are more petite and speckled, so they’re a fun and funky addition to your garden. Plus, rodents and deer don’t like them.

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8. Snowdrop

Petite white flowers with dropping heads appear when snow is still on the ground in northern climates—thus, the name. Snowdrops, also called galanthus, are best planted them in rock gardens or the front of borders so you can enjoy their ethereal beauty.

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9. Spring Snowflake

Also called leucojum, these teeny white bell-shaped flowers nod atop long stems and appear in late spring. Plant them at the front of borders in large groups to really make an impact.

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RELATED: How to Keep Plants Warm Long After Summer Ends

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