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Spring-Planted Bulbs

Light up your summer garden with our diverse, colorful range of spring bulbs! Choose from a vast selection, including Asiatic lilies, dahlias, calla lilies, gladiolus, and many more. We carry summer-blooming bulbs with a wide array of hues, sizes, and forms, including plenty of both early and late-season varieties.

When to Plant Summer-Blooming Bulbs

Most summer flowering bulbs can be planted in spring once the chance of frost has passed, which gives you plenty of time to pick the best matches for your creative goals and garden conditions. You might wonder why spring bulbs go into the ground in spring, while fall bulbs go into the ground in autumn. The difference is in the structure of the bulb itself.

Plants like cannas and lily-of-the-valley are not actually bulbs in the same way that tulips and daffodils are bulbs. These plants grow from rhizomes or tubers. For that reason, they generally don't need a cold period in the same way that bulbous plants do, and they need more energy to protect themselves over the cold winter.

Wait until after your region's last frost date to plant your bulbs. Most summer bulbs should go in the ground after all threat of frost has passed. For Zones 3 and 4, you should plant summer bulbs in June. Hardiness Zone 5 allows for planting around Memorial Day, while Zone 6's final frost date is around Mother's Day. Hardiness Zone 7 gardeners can plant in late April. Gardeners in very warm climates, including Zones 8, 9, and 10, should plant as early as mid-March.

How to Arrange Spring Bulbs

You can use an assortment of spring bulb flowers to create stunning mixed beds, emphasize your favorite color by mass planting a single cultivar, combine early and late blooming varieties for endless summer color—the possibilities are endless and promise a lot of fun and a spectacular summer garden! Here are some of our favorite ways to use summer-blooming flowers:
  • Plant tall flowers, like canna lilies and calla lilies, at the back of the border and allow them to shine above shorter plants. Use low-growing begonias and mini dahlias up front!
  • Choose a large planter to fill with lush summer-flowering plants, and make it a statement piece for your porch or patio
  • Mix different bloom times. Use bushier summer-blooming plants to fill in around fading spring bulbs.
  • Consider color. Bold colors pair nicely with pastels and whites. Or, try a monochrome look, with multiple species of summer-flowering bulbs blooming in shades of pink, orange, yellow, or your favorite color!
  • Don't want to commit time to lifting bulbs in the fall? Keep your non-hardy plants, like dahlias and gladiolus, in containers and fill in the garden with hardier perennials like iris and daylilies.
Summer blooming bulbs are a true mixed bag. By combining color and form, your summer display can steal the show-and keep your garden lush with flowers even after a bloom-heavy spring!

How to Plant Spring Bulbs

Planting methodology for summer-blooming bulbs differs greatly by species and by bulb type. Planting lily bulbs may look a bit different than planting gladiolus corms. However, there are a few major rules to abide by while planting summer bulbs.
  • Summer bulbs require warm weather and warm soil. While fall-planted bulbs need a cool period before they burst into bloom in spring, many summer bulbs are not hardy, and almost all should go into the ground after the last frost.
  • Don't plant during a heavily rainy week. Allowing your bulbs to sit in the ground during ongoing downpours can lead to rot.
  • Wait until after your region's last frost date to plant your bulbs. Most summer bulbs should go in the ground after all threat of frost has passed.
  • Some summer-blooming bulbs are actually not able to survive over winter while in the ground, and should be lifted and stored, or stored in pots, over winter. Consider the potential for moving or lifting bulbs when selecting a planting location.
  • Consider the height and potential width of grown plants while setting your flower bulbs. All varieties will have their own instructions for how much space they'll require.
  • Most bulbs should be planted at about three times as deep as the bulb is tall.
Planting is one of the easiest parts of gardening, but sometimes the most intimidating. If your tubers or bulbs have roots, be sure to spread them, facing down, in the soil. Water your summer bulbs in well after planting.

How to Care for Summer Bulbs During Summer

Because summer bulbs do most of their growing during the hot season, they have somewhat needy watering requirements. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, but do water your summertime bulbs regularly, and soon after the soil goes dry.

Some bulbs do not require much fertilization, but summer bulbs tend to have large leaves and heavy flowers that can use a bit of a boost. Most of these flowers come from tropical locales with rich soil. Fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer for maximum blooming.
Keep an eye out for pests and slugs, which are known to eat the leaves of tender summer plants. Slug bait can keep slimy slugs and snails away, and neem oil is a wonderful, all-natural insect repellent.

How to Care for Summer Bulbs Over Winter

Most summer bulbs, including tender gladiolus, dahlia, elephant ears, and tuberose, need to be lifted in the winter. They won't survive in freezing ground, or in temperatures below a certain threshold. Check your zone and your plant's heat requirements, and decide whether it makes sense to lift your bulbs in winter. Summer bulbs can be kept indoors in their containers, using a heated greenhouse or a non-freezing garage. Or, lift the bulbs themselves from the ground, and allow them to cure on sheets of brown paper for a few days before storing them in breathable material, and cool—but not freezing—temperatures, for the winter.

Summer Bulb Varieties

Every summer is different-and so if every summer flower. From delicate and dainty to stunning and splashy, summer bulbs are available for any need or style. Here are a few of our favorite summer bulb varieties:
  • Gladiolus: Tall, glamorous spathes of flowers make Gladiolus a beautiful symbol of summer. Great for vertical gardening.
  • Lilies: Whether Asiatic or Oriental, lilies are the quintessential summertime bulb. Lilies are known for flowery flowers and enchanting scents.
  • Ranunculus: The perfect border flower, ranunculus are small but bold, in bright and shiny shades of yellows, reds, and pinks.
  • Calla Lilies: A favorite for brides and elegant stylings, calla lilies offer pretty, trumpet shaped flowers in shades from neons to near-blacks.
  • Canna Lilies: Cannas are among our favorite of the tropical summer bulbs. Large leaves and stunning flowers make it clear that summer has arrived.
  • Dahlias: From dinnerplate varieties to miniature dahlias, these fluffy masterpieces are all about form and size. Mix and match varieties for a garden you won't want to look away from.
  • Iris: Tall bearded iris is certainly a centerpiece, and lots of beardless irises have made their way to the United States in recent years.

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