Ina Garten Loves These 2 Spring Flowers — Here's Everything You Need to Know About How to Grow and Care for Them

The Barefoot Contessa loves yellow magnolias and leucojum in spring, so I spoke to an expert about how to grow and care for these delicate blooms. Anything for Ina!

Ina Garten and flowers
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Not to be dramatic, but Food Network star Ina Garten is my north star. When I'm stressed out, I love to scroll through her Instagram or turn on a few episodes of The Barefoot Contessa and lose myself in her relaxed, coastal attitude. When I need a recipe for chocolate cake — one that I know will impress — her's is the first profile I'm visiting. And when I want some homemaking advice from one of the most famous and cheeky homemakers around, I'm following the guidance of the woman whose class, humor, and taste have together spawned a million imitations (and a million memes — does the phrase 'If you can't summon the flames directly from Hell, storebought will do' mean anything to you? If not, it should).

As we move into the summer season, I find myself once again attuned to Ina's recommendations, this time as they relate to the bountiful garden in her East Hampton home. Flowers are tricky; you could have all the best gardening supplies, but without a green thumb (or at least some good advice) your yard could easily look as a dry and barren as the Addams Family Manor. And don't we want a garden full of flowers that bloom in summer?

Ina unsurprisingly has it down — but how can the rest of us replicate her gorgeous spring blooms, specifically Yellow Magnolias and Summer Snowflakes (Leucojum)?

A post shared by Ina Garten

A photo posted by inagarten on

First, let's start with the basics. Summer Snowflakes are perennials featuring 'delicate, bell-shaped white flowers with green dots on each petal, dangling gracefully from slender stems above narrow, strap-like green foliage,' says Gerardo Loayza, founder and CEO of landscape design company Bacqyard. 'They typically bloom in late winter to early spring, adding a fresh, elegant touch to the garden when few other plants are flowering.'

Yellow magnolias, meanwhile, are 'deciduous shrubs or small trees' that produce 'large, showy, tulip-shaped flowers in various shades of yellow, from soft butter to rich golden hues.' You can catch their blooms in early spring.

How do I grow Leucojum?

With Leucojum, you'll want to start by planting the bulbs in humus-rich top soil in the fall, aiming for a piece of land in either full sun or part shade, Gerardo says. Space the bulbs 3-4 inches about and 'plant them 4 inches deep with the pointed end facing up,' before watering well and applying a 'layer of mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.' Leucojum can thrive even in drought periods, but you would do well to water them during 'prolonged dry spells.' After blooming, allow the flower to die back naturally, 'as this replenishes the nutrients in the bulb for next year's growth.'

How do I grow yellow magnolias?

Start in the spring with moist and acidic soil in sun to light shade. Dig a 'hole as deep as the root ball and 2-3 times as wide,' then water regularly with as much as 1 inch of water per week. Next, 'apply a 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch under the canopy to retain moisture and regulate soil temperature. Keep mulch a few inches away from the trunk to prevent rot.'

You'll want to fertilize in early spring, then 'prune as needed after flowering to remove any dead, diseased, or crossing branches to maintain shape and health.'

What is the ideal setting for leucojum?

If you're interested in planting some leucojum yourself, Gerardo suggests planting Summer Snowflakes in 'drifts or clumps in woodland gardens, under deciduous trees, or naturalized in lawns for a picturesque display.' These plants are 'versatile and adaptable,' meaning they can thrive in various settings. You might also like them utilized as 'charming accents along pathways, in rock gardens, or along stream or pond banks,' 'grouped with other early spring bulbs like crocus, scilla, and early daffodils for a colorful tapestry,' or bunched together into a lovely indoor bouquet.

What is the ideal setting for yellow magnolias?

Yellow magnolias are 'showstoppers,' Gerardo says, meaning they're perfect as a focal point in 'lawns or garden beds'; paired with an 'evergreen backdrop' that makes the 'flowers really pop'; as n 'eye-catching accent near patios, decks, or entryways,'; or as an 'informal flowering hedge along a property border or lining a driveway for a grand, romantic effect.'

Whichever seed you choose to plant, you now have the figurative tools you need to make your garden as Ina-worthy as possible. As for the literal tools, well, I've got you covered there, too. Keep scrolling for an edit of some of my favorite rakes, spades, shovels, and shears, some of which I've even had the opportunity to touch and hold. Let's get planting!

Your Gardening Edit

Style Editor

Brigid Kennedy is a Style Editor at, where she is responsible for obsessively combing the internet for the best and most stylish deals on home decor and more. She was previously a story editor at, where she covered both U.S. politics and culture. She describes her design style as colorful and clean, and in her free time enjoys reading, watching movies, and curating impossibly niche playlists on Spotify. She lives in New York.