15 Bulbs to Plant in the Spring for Amazing Summer Blooms

15 Bulbs to Plant in the Spring for Amazing Summer Blooms

On our list of the top summer-blooming bulbs, you’ll find ones that are breathtaking, gorgeous, and colorful flowers that you won’t regret taking the extra time with. Also, these spring bulbs are quick to grow and provide beautiful pops of color throughout your garden during the summer and early fall.

Keep in mind that depending on where you live, some summer flower bulbs may need extra care compared to typical spring bulbs because they’re more susceptible to cold temperatures. As a result, you’ll need to take additional steps in autumn to store some plant bulbs during the winter before replanting them in early spring the following year.

Our List of the Top 15 Bulbs to Plant in the Spring

Allium

Allium, also known as ornamental onions, are gorgeous herbs with long, basal foliage. Ornamental onions have a garlic or onion odor and can thrive in various landscapes, including dry, mountainous areas, forests, and throughout the northern hemisphere. Currently, there are around 700 known species of Allium, and they typically bloom between late spring and early summer. 

We recommend adding Allium to your garden as a mass planting or a beautiful ornament for border gardens, edible gardens, or rock gardens. You should plant Allium bulbs 5 to 8 inches deep and 6 to 12 inches apart in rich loam soil with access to full sunlight for them to thrive.

Begonia 

If you’re looking to brighten your garden, opt for cheerful, warm begonia bulbs. Begonias have been around for a long time and are known as beginner-friendly annuals that thrive in many conditions and environments. We recommend planting your begonias in a partially shady area with moist but well-drained soil rich in organic content for optimal blooming. While begonias will grow year-round indoors, they don’t tolerate frost and will need to be protected or removed during chilly winter months and ground freezes.

There are over 2,000 known species of begonias that come in many different colors, including coral, pink, red, orange, and yellow. Typically, begonias have huge, bright flowers and complementary bronze or green foliage. Depending on the begonia species you choose, the flowers will either be upright or cascade, making them versatile for many planting projects, such as containers, beds, borders, and much more. 

Canna

Canna, also known as canna lilies, are beautiful, towering flowers with a tropical appearance due to their bright yellow, red, pink, and orange colors. These flowers are known to grow 8 feet or more, making them an excellent choice for those looking to add height to their gardens. Some canna species, such as the Musifolia, can grow over 15 feet tall. We also love that canna flowers have attractive banana-shaped leaves that can be green or purple because these plants are still beautiful even when the flowers are not in bloom.

These heat-loving perennial flowers thrive in Southeastern gardens and are best planted after the last spring frost because they will quickly wither in cold conditions. If you choose to plant canna flowers, pay close attention to signs of the canna leaf roller, which are pests that can quickly decimate your beautiful flowers. 

Dahlia

These popular flowers create stunning “pompom” shaped blooms in colors that span the entire rainbow. Dahlias mimic the shapes of other popular flowers, such as zinnias, daisies, and chrysanthemums. Typically, you can expect your dahlia flowers to grow 4 to 5 feet tall. Dahlias also make beautiful cut flowers that brighten up any part of your home.  

We recommend planting these flowers in an area with full sun, protection from wind, and well-drained soil. Dahlias can thrive in hardiness zones eight and above. However, they should be planted when the soil is warm. If you plant dahlias, you can expect your flower to have a bloom time around midsummer and last until the temperatures drop and frost comes. 

Calla Lily

Calla lilies are popular in bridal bouquets and funerals due to their elegant, classic shape and pure white color. However, these flowers also come in lavender, orange, yellow, rose, and deep maroon colors. Calla lilies have gained popularity because they purify the air around them and even absorb airborne pollutants like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene. 

Typically, calla lilies flourish in cooler and wet conditions. Calla lilies can even live in soggy and wet potting mixtures. Therefore, we recommend planting calla lilies outdoors after the dangers of frost have passed. 

If you plant calla lilies, you can expect them to bloom around eight to 16 weeks after potting. We recommend placing them in an area with full sun during the summer. However, the soil must be moist, so you may need to put them in partial sun if you live in an area with drier soil or harsh sun. 

Caladium

If you have a shady garden, caladium flowers are a wonderful, colorful option to add brightness to your garden. Too much sunlight will fade the beautiful, vibrant colors that caladium flowers boast, so a shady garden with rich and well-drained soil is ideal for them. These stunning flowers come in many patterns and combinations of white, pink, red, and green. Their huge heart-shaped or lance-shaped leaves can grow up to 12 inches long, while the plant will typically grow around 18 to 24 inches tall. 

Caladium flowers thrive in zones nine to eleven due to their hardy nature. We recommend planting them in the spring but digging them up before the first fall frost because they will wither in freezing temperatures. With proper care, caladium bulbs can come back every year. Like many flowers, caladiums are toxic to humans and pets, so always exert caution and do your research before planting new flowers. 

Crocosmia 

Crocosmia are fiery plants from the iris family with slender leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers that come in yellows, oranges, and reds. These plants grow up to 4 feet tall and spread 12 to 18 inches wide. If you live in a sweltering climate, you will need to plant your crocosmia flowers in a partially shaded area. Otherwise, these plants typically thrive in full sun areas and look amazing in large clusters. Crocosmia flowers are considered perennial in most places and will continue blooming year after year. 

If you live in an area with deer, crocosmia flowers are a great choice because they are considered deer-resistant while still being a favorite among pollinators. We recommend planting crocosmia in zones five to nine in fertile, moist, well-drained soil. However, they will need to be dug up in the fall if you live in northern zones. 

Daffodil

Daffodils are popular flowers native to northern Europe that thrive in almost all zones due to their hardy bulbs. Also known as Narcissus, daffodils are named after a Greek myth about Narcissus, a man who was so enamored with his own beauty that he died watching his reflection. To date, there are over 13,000 types of daffodils, and they are among the most popular flower bulbs

If you’re interested in planting daffodils, the best planting time is between March and May. Daffodils thrive in well-drained, slightly acidic soil, especially if the soil is on a hillside or raised area because they require proper drainage to prevent the bulb from rotting. These plants can be grown nearly anywhere and prefer sunny locations. However, they can still thrive in partially sunny areas. Daffodils are also popular because they reproduce sexually or asexually, making it easy to spread these throughout your garden. 

Gladiola

Gladiola, also known as sword lilies due to their blade-shaped leaves, are stunning, tall flowers that grow in columns reaching 2 to 5 feet tall. The taller varieties of gladiolus may require stalking to stay upright. Their blooms come in many colors, including yellow, pink, orange, and purple, and are typically 3 to 5 inches in size. Gladiolas are winter-hardy plants and are part of the iris family. If you’re interested in adding height and color to your flower garden, these Asian, African, and Mediterranean plants are an excellent choice. 

We recommend planting gladiolus if you live in zone eight or higher. If you live in a northern zone, you’ll need to dig your gladiolas up after the first frost to prevent them from dying and rotting during freezing temperatures. These bulbs require well-drained soil and are best placed in sunny areas after spring frost has passed. 

Hyacinth

Hyacinths are sturdy, perennial flowers with a bulbous shape and narrow strap-shaped leaves. Their fragrant flowers come in many beautiful colors, including purple, white, cream, red, apricot, lavender, rose, and pink. 

Hyacinth plants grow best in well-drained soil with medium moisture and high organic matter content. Typically, hyacinths do better in full sun and will tolerate summer drought, although the soil will need to be moistened if the soil dries out. 

Hyacinths can be grown in zone four. However, these flowers typically thrive in higher zones without mulch. Each bloom produces one flower scape with a strong sweet scent that can be used as a natural deodorizer for the bathroom or kitchen. Please note that individuals with asthma or scent sensitivities may find the smell of hyacinths overpowering. 

Freesia 

Freesias have an intense, sweet fragrance comparable to summer fruits and strawberries, which many gardeners enjoy. These native South African plants grow 12 to 24 inches tall and may benefit from staking because they can flop over without the added support. Freesias have single or double-petaled flowers shaped like trumpets which come in scarlet, pink, lavender, yellow, white, orange, royal blue, and bicolor tones. 

We recommend planting freesias in sunny areas with well-drained soil once the danger of frost is gone. Typically, these flowers will begin blooming within 10 to 12 weeks after planting, and their sequential blooms stay around for six weeks or more. Freesias are hardy enough to thrive in zones nine and ten. If you live somewhere that rarely has frost, freesias will grow back every year, and they frequently multiply, creating a colorful, full garden year after year. 

Lily

Lilies are symbols of purity, fertility, and innocence. These beautiful flowers come in many varieties, including but not limited to Easter, Orienpet, Double, Asiatic, Oriental, and Border kinds. Many lilies are fragrant, making them a perfect summer flower. Known for their huge, showy flower blooms and narrow leaves, many gardeners love the look of lilies throughout their garden. Lilies come in all colors, including orange, white, yellow, pink, and many other vivid colors. 

Lily bulbs thrive in zone four conditions and typically bloom in early to late summer, depending on the variety you choose. When planting lilies, place these bulbs in well-drained, cool soil. Many recommend planting lilies where their roots are in a cooler area, but their flower will be in the sun when it blooms. However, if you live in a scorching climate, you should completely plant lilies in the shade. It’s also important to note that all types of lilies are highly toxic to pets. 

Naked Lady

Lycoris, also known as naked ladies or surprise lilies, usually have pink, red, and orange flowers. Naked ladies look like lilies but lack the same foliage that lilies are famous for. Naked ladies are hardy in zones seven through 10 and bloom in late summer. We recommend not dividing these flowers for several years unless absolutely necessary if you want to grow hardy, strong plants. 

For the best results, naked lady flowers should be planted in sunny areas and have any dead leaves removed from the ground yearly. Summer heat is beneficial for these plants, and you should plant these flowers in an area without shade or nearby shading vegetation. In addition, naked lady flowers require little moisture and should be planted in an area with excellent soil drainage to prevent the bulb from rotting. Like lilies, these plants are toxic to dogs and cats and should be avoided if you have pets or are planting them in an area where your pets could access them. 

Spring Snowflake

Spring snowflakes are European perennials flowers that are beginner-friendly and adaptable. Spring snowflakes have beautiful green and white flowers, with white flowers having a faint green spot on each flower tip. Its shape is upright and grass-like with cup or bell-shaped flowers that hang downwards. 

These frost-hardy flowers prefer rich, moist, and well-drained soil and usually thrive in zones four to eight, though some say spring snowflakes are possibly hardy in zone three as well. We recommend planting spring snowflakes in full sun or partial shade. For best results, keep the soil moist during the growing season and divide the plants after leaves have died or during autumn. Many gardeners enjoy planting spring snowflakes because they are non-aggressive, non-invasive, and a flower that can be overwintered outdoors without added winter protection. 

Tulip

Tulips are popular, bulbous, perennial herbs that bloom in late spring and early summer. Tulip flowers come in many vibrant shades, including yellow, pink, blue, and many other colors. Their flowers may also be mixed and multi-colored. 

Typically, tulips grow best in locations with dry, warm summers and cool, moist winters. Tulips should be planted in mass plantings and can be grown as perennials or annuals. However, most gardeners prefer growing tulips as annuals because they tend to decline after the second year otherwise. We recommend planting tulips in medium moisture, fertile, rich, and well-drained soil with access to full sun. 

Tulips are susceptible to many pests, including aphids, slugs, mice, snails, squirrels, and voles, so it’s crucial that you take actions to prevent pests from harming your tulips. These flowers are also susceptible when soil temperatures reach 70 degrees or more. 

Honorable Mentions

Many amazing flower bulbs have beautiful, colorful summer blooms. A few of our favorite honorable mentions include elephant ears, Liatris, sunflowers, daisies, anemones, amaryllis, crocus, and irises. 

We hope our list gives you many great ideas for vibrant and stunning flowers that you can plant this spring and enjoy later in the summer!

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