20 Bulbs to Plant in the Spring for Summer Blooms

20 Bulbs to Plant in the Spring for Summer Blooms

Feb 2nd 2024

Imagine your garden turning into a show of colorful blooms and sweet scents this summer. You can make this happen by planting summer-blooming bulbs in the spring. Bulbs are the easiest and most rewarding flowers to grow because they go from bulbs to gorgeous flowers and foliage in months. The 'bulb' refers to a large group of ornamental and flowering bulbous-like plants in dormancy, such as tubers, corms, and rhizomes. A true bulb is a fleshy, thickened, and subterranean bud that emits roots from the underside and stems, foliage, and flowers from the crown. When these bulbs are planted with care in the spring, they will make your garden pop with beauty when summer rolls around. They are low-maintenance and can be planted in beds, containers, borders, or even hanging baskets.

Here are the 20 most popular and magical bulbs that promise to fill your outdoor space with colors and fragrances all summer. From the stunning tulips to the sweet-smelling hyacinths, each bulb has the potential to make your garden a summer wonderland.

1. Tulips

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 to 7

Growing Conditions: Full sun, well-draining soil

are charming flowers that can add a splash of color to your landscape. These bulbs are super easy to grow just plant them in good soil and watch the magic happen. Tulips come in vibrant shades of colors, from reds and pinks to purples and yellows, making your garden fill with color.

They love the sun, so find a sunny spot for them to shine. Additionally, they grow best in colder regions of the US where winters are wet, and the summer season is dry.

2. Red Hot Poker

USDA Hardiness Zone: 6 to 9

Growing Conditions: Full sun, well-draining soil

Red Hot Poker is another vibrant addition to your garden. These flowers are known for their bold shades of red, orange, and yellow that signify the heat of summer. Planting these fiery flowers is an invitation to add energy to your outdoor space. These low-maintenance beauties thrive with minimal attention. Their spiky and upright blooms create a dynamic visual effect that can add a touch of aesthetic to your outdoor space. Moreover, red hot pokers attract pollinators like hummingbirds and butterflies.

3. Gladiolus

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8 to 10

Growing Conditions: Full sun, rich and well-draining soil

Gladiolus is another spectacular flowering plant that produces trumpet-shaped blooms on tall stems. Find a sunny spot with well-drained soil and plant these bulbs. One of the standout features of Gladiolus is its tall and commanding stalks. When these stems are adorned with a row of trumpet-shaped flowers, they become a focal piece in the garden landscape. Gladioli features blooms of a vibrant color palette, from rich purples and reds to soft pinks and whites.

Water them regularly, provide support for their tall stems if needed, and enjoy an enchanting display of flowers that lasts throughout the summer. Their tall spikes make them excellent for creating borders to add vertical interest to your garden design.

4. Peruvian Daffodil

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8 to 10

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial shade, well-draining and loamy soil

Peruvian Daffodil, also known as spider lily, is a captivating mid-summer blooming flower that boasts delightful fragrance and timeless beauty. Among the 20 best bulbs to plant in the spring for summer blooms, Peruvian daffodils are classic bulbs with yellow and white blooms that add a touch of happiness to your garden. The distinctive shape of these flowers gives them an exotic look. These summer-blooming bulbs love soaking up the sun, so find a sunny spot for them to shine.

5. Lili (Lilium)

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 to 9

Growing Conditions: Full sun to light shade, well-draining soil

Lily, a sun-loving beauty, can be a showstopper in your garden this summer. They are one of the most popular and low-maintenance summer-blooming flowers that are planted in spring. There are several varieties of lily flowers that are grown from bulbs, including Asiatic, Border, Double, Oriental, Orienpet, Giant, and Longiflorum. Each type carries a unique charm and beauty. Many of these types come with an amazing fragrance that adds a pleasant vibe to your outdoor space. Furthermore, lilies serve perfectly as cut flowers, so you can bring their beauty indoors, too. Place a vase of fresh-cut lilies in your living space to enjoy the elegance and charm of these beauties.

6. Naked Lady

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7 to 10

Growing Conditions: Full sun, well-draining soil

The Naked Lady, also known as Surprise Lily, Resurrection Lily, Magic Lily, or Jersey Lily, is a fun and charming flower in the garden. After its spring leaves go away, tall stems appear, reaching 2 to 3 feet high. On top of these stems bloom lovely, light pink, lily-shaped flowers that smell nice. These flowers are deer-resistant and do not need a lot of water. However, be careful, they can be harmful to animals and people. The lily-shaped flowers not only look beautiful in the garden but also make great cut flowers indoors.

7. Freesia

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9 to 10

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial shade, moist and well-draining soil

Freesia, known for its delicate blossoms and captivating scent, is a gorgeous and fragrant spring-planted summer bulb. Whether you're creating a formal garden, a cottage garden, or even container displays, these bulbs add a touch of charm wherever they are planted.

If you have limited space or prefer container gardening, freesia is an excellent choice. Their compact size and elegant appearance make them perfect for container gardening. They bring fragrance and color to balconies, patios, or any small outdoor space, ensuring you can enjoy their beauty even in confined settings.

8: Dahlia

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7 to 10

Growing Conditions: Full sun, acidic and well-draining soil

Dahlia is a beloved summer flower that comes in a stunning array of colors, shapes, and sizes. From the classic ball-shaped blooms to the eye-catching cactus varieties with spiky petals, there's a variety of Dahlia to suit every taste.

One of the excellent features of Dahlia is its ability to produce continuous blooms well into the fall. Its bloom time is from summer to early fall. You can choose different varieties of this bulb with different blooming times to ensure your garden remains full of colors from summer through the autumn months.

9: Begonia

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9 to 11

Growing Conditions: Partial to full shade, well-draining soil

Begonias are well-known for their elegant flowers, long-blooming nature, and versatility. Their genus holds hundreds of species, each with a unique allure. From the classic wax begonias with their glossy leaves to the trailing varieties that cascade elegantly, there's a begonia species for every garden style.

Begonias are surprisingly easy to grow. Once planted, these bulbs require minimal care to thrive. In addition, their adaptable nature makes them perfect for borders, flower beds, or as focal points.

10. Elephant Ear

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8 to 11

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial shade, fertile and loamy soil

The Elephant Ear is named for its magnificent foliage as it boasts giant heart-shaped leaves that reach an impressive 3 feet in length and span 2 feet in width. When planting this tropical perennial, choose nutrient-rich and well-moistened soil. For regions colder than Zone 8, bring elephant ears indoors during winter to protect them from harsh weather conditions.

11. Hyacinth

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 to 8

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial shade, rich and well-drained soil

Hyacinth is a robust summer flowering bulb with narrow, strap-shaped leaves and delicate blooms. The fragrant flowers of hyacinth come in an array of lovely hues such as white, red, purple, cream, pink, lavender, and peach. Hyacinths can tolerate summer drought. Summer hyacinths are planted in spring to enjoy flower display in early summer. Gardeners love to plant these bulbs in large quantities to decorate landscapes and edge beds. It's important to note that the plant is toxic to pets and humans.

12. Calla Lily

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8 to 10

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial shade

Calla lilies are beloved for their graceful, showy inflorescence and rich, green, broad foliage. This summer-blooming bulb is a favorite of florists and gardeners. They are produced from tubers or rhizomes. Calla Lily will captivate your friends, neighbors, and family with its distinct, trumpet-shaped flowers and long, elegant stems. Each bloom will add a touch of sophistication to your garden.

Planting Calla Lilies in your outdoor space ensures a pleasant feast for the eyes, as their timeless beauty graces your garden throughout the summer. These flowers are easy to grow. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a beginner, these floral gems promise stunning blooms with minimal effort.

13. Poppy Anemones

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7 to 10

Growing Conditions: Full sun to light shade, moist and well-drained soil

Poppy Anemones are one of the most beautiful bulbs to plant in the spring for stunning summer blooms. Their vibrant blossoms and attractive foliage will transform your outdoor haven into a floral masterpiece. Poppy anemones offer a splash of colors and textures. These bulbs are sun-loving charmers, ready to shine in your garden. Their long stems and vigorous blooms make them an excellent choice for creating stunning floral arrangements. Poppy anemones are known for providing continuous blooms throughout the summer.

14. Crinums

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7 to 11

Growing Conditions: Full sun to light shade, well-drained soil

Crinums are versatile spring-planted flowering plants that can enhance the beauty of any garden with their elegant blooms and large, glossy leaves. Their love for moist soil makes them ideal for planting near ponds or along the edges of water features. Once established, they become drought-tolerant and can also withstand light frost. The pretty blooms reflecting on the water will create a serene ambiance that will turn your outdoor space into an oasis.

15. Caladium

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9 to 11

Growing Conditions: Partial to full shade, moist and well-drained soil

Caladium is a heat-loving tropical plant that is a must-have for brightening the shady corners of your garden. They are grown for their heart-shaped, showy foliage, which comes in multiple colors and patterns. Caladiums are tubers and are usually planted in hanging baskets, patio containers, and window boxes. Plant this bulb with other shade-loving bulbs. Despite their complex appearance, Caladiums are surprisingly easy to grow.

16. Liatris

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 to 9

Growing Conditions: Full sun, well-draining soil

Little corms, almost like small bulbs, have an incredible ability to grow into the tall and elegant Liatris, a plant adorned with lavender-headed flowers. It can reach heights of 2-4 feet tall. This lovely flower blooms from summer to early fall. Liatris showcases its uniqueness with bottlebrush-shaped flower heads that produce a display of tiny star-like blossoms. Liatris prefers well-draining soil basking in the warmth of full sunlight. This breathtaking plant is an excellent addition to both cottage and rock gardens.

17. Ranunculus (Persian Buttercup)

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8 to 11

Growing Conditions: Full sun, moist soil with good drainage

Ranunculus is a show-stopping spring and summer bloomer that has been a favorite among florists. This bulb features striking cup-shaped blooms composed of delicate petals. The blooms come in a range of bold colors, including yellow, red, purple, white, pink, and hybrid bi-color options. Ranunculus starts blooming at the end of spring and offers a stunning show once summer begins. They are sun-loving bulbs that can tolerate hot temperatures. So, plant them in a sunny location so they receive the light they need to flourish. Their adaptable nature makes them suitable for borders, flower beds, or as delightful accents in your garden design.

18. Crocosmia

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial shade, well-draining soil

Crocosmia, also known as montbretia, is a gorgeous summer-blooming bulb that blooms best in full sun from mid to late summer. This bulb produces strappy leaves and stately flower spikes in lively hues of orange, yellow, red, and coral. They can reach a height of up to 4 feet, which makes it best to plant as a border.

19. Iris

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 to 10

Growing Conditions: Full sun, well-draining soil

Iris is a broad class of long-lived perennials that bloom from mid-spring through fall, depending on the species. Bearded iris is a common species that blooms from late spring to early summer. Some varieties rebloom in late summer or autumn. The flowers of the iris occur in a vast range of colors and patterns. They are ideal for planting in beds or borders. Plant this flowering bulb in full sun for the best results.

20. Mexican Shell Flower

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8 to 9

Growing Conditions: Full sun, well-draining soil

The last spring-planted bulb on our list is the Mexican shell flower (Tigridia pavonia), also called the tiger flower because its flower pattern resembles tiger markings. This flowering plant features beautiful, unique, three-petaled flowers with spotted centers. The flowers come in shades of red, yellow, orange, white, pink, and coral. Each stalk holds several continuous blooms. These flowers are native to Central and South America.

The Bottom Line

Spring-planted bulbs can add charm and beauty to your garden with gorgeous blooms, impressive foliage, and a delightful scent. They are fast growers and require little maintenance. All bulbs prefer well-drained soil.

Choose your favorite summer-blooming bulbs from the list and plant them in the spring to enjoy a stunning show of vibrant colors in your garden this summer! Happy spring!