While many of the most familiar bulbs are planted in the fall, there are several varieties of bulbs, corms and tubers that can be planted in the spring. These plants are all bulbs, corms or tubers which are best planted in the spring, either early, mid or late spring, for flowers and foliage that can be enjoyed that same year!
Many of these spring-planted bulbs will bloom in the summer or fall. This is one way to extend the bloom time in your bulb garden, and along with using bulb layering techniques, can increase the amount of plants you can enjoy.
- Agapanthus – Hardy to zones 7-10. Large round flower umbels grow to 6’ tall depending on cultivar. Midsummer-autumn flowers are usually blue but some are pink or white.
- Anemone coronaria – Plant these rhizomatus perennials in early spring in sun to partial shade and enjoy the bright 3” flowers beginning early summer.
- Arum – Also called “Lords and Ladies” this shade lover can be planted in fall through zones 7 and in spring further north. Interesting summer blooms become attractive red berry clusters.
- Begonias – Over 900 species to choose from, plant these tubers at soil level in sun to part shade in the spring after danger of frost. Begonias bloom all summer and fall.
- Caladium – This tropical bulb is grown for its foliage which can be quite striking in a shade garden. Planted in the spring after danger of frost, the attractive variegated foliage can be enjoyed until the first fall frost. Bulbs are easy to lift and overwinter.
- Canna Lily – Hardy to zones 7-10. Plant in the spring for dramatic color in midsummer or autumn gardens. These rhizomatous plants grow from 2-7’ tall and can be lifted before the frost kills them, stored over the winter and replanted again in the spring.
- Dahlias – A favorite in the fall garden, dahlia tubers are best planted in the early spring even though they are considered half-hardy and may survive winters through zone 8. Dahlias make a great cut flower plants as well as exciting addition to the fall border.
- Freesia – A corm that can be planted in the early spring and will produce fragrant, attractive flowers all season long. Freesias are a favorite for containers, forcing indoors over winter, or small garden spaces.
- Gladiolus – Another great cut flower plant, this midsummer bloomer prefers moist, sunny soil. Growing to 5’ tall depending on cultivar there are over 10,000 cultivars and hybrids to choose from.
- Hedychium – Also called “ginger lily” or “white ginger”, this unusual plant is tender or half-hardy so tubers should be planted in the spring to avoid the danger of frost. Beautiful tropical looking blooms summer through fall.
- Nerine – Also known as the “Guernsey lily” this fall bloomer is reminiscent of a pink or mauve Agapathus. Plant the bulbs 1-3” deep once the soil can be worked in the spring.
- Ranunculus – Also called “Buttercup” or “Crow foot,” these tuberous roots can be planted in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Mid to late summer blooms are usually brightly colored and make good cut flowers.
Some of the plants mentioned here are frost tender (unless otherwise noted) and will die each winter unless they are dug up and stored. This is the reason the bulbs or tubers must be planted after the danger of frost has past in the spring unless you live in a frost-free zone. Others are just quick blooming plants that can be planted in the spring and flower a few weeks later in summer or fall. Which is your favorite summer-blooming bulb?