Summer Garden Bulbs – When To Plant Bulbs For Summer Flowers

White Summer Flower Bulbs
oriental lily
(Image credit: Marcello Sgarlato)

Traditionally, bulbs like tulips and daffodils represent an easy way novice growers can create beautiful landscapes. Much like their spring counterparts, summer blooming flower bulbs can add great depth to flower beds and borders. Beginning to explore which bulbs bloom in summer is one of the first steps in creating stunning warm season gardens.

When to Plant Bulbs for Summer Flowers

Summer flowering bulbs can maximize a flower garden with bountiful blooms. Since flower bulbs that bloom in summer are frequently tender to frost, they are most commonly planted after the weather has warmed in the spring.

Planting time will also vary depending upon each bulb type and the gardener’s USDA growing zone. Though some summer garden bulbs are grown as annuals, many types can be lifted and stored indoors over winter. This often takes place in fall.

Which Bulbs Bloom in Summer?

  • Begonias - Tuberous begonias are a good choice for gardens that receive some shade in the summer. Showy, double flowered blooms work well in flower borders near paths and driveways due to their low growth habit. Like many bulbs which bloom in summer, tuberous begonias can be lifted and overwintered indoors.
  • Caladium - These tropical looking plants are prized for their unique foliage, which comes in a diverse array of colors and patterns. Heat loving caladiums are adaptable to both full shade and part sun growing locations.
  • Calla Lily - Another low grower of the summer flowering bulbs, calla lilies have unique cup-shaped blooms. Calla lilies make ideal cut flowers due to their long vase life and are an excellent choice for the cutting garden.
  • Canna - Yet another tropical looking plant, canna plants thrive in heat. Cannas produce showy flower spikes in the peak of the growing season. Depending upon the growing zone, canna bulbs may also need to be lifted and stored indoors over the winter months.
  • Dahlias - Technically tubers, dahlias are extremely popular summer flowering bulbs. Diversity of flower size, shape, and color is immense from one variety to another. Dahlia plants range dramatically in height, making them ideal for ornamental plantings. Dahlia tubers should not be planted until the soil has warmed, as these plants are prone to rot in soil which is cold and/or wet.
  • Gladiolus - Known for the production of large flower spikes, gladiolus plants are among the easiest flowers to grow. Plant gladiolus corms from spring until summer for a succession of vibrant, colorful blooms.
  • Liatris - Ever popular with bumble bees and a wide range of other pollinators, this bright purple flowering bulb is sure to brighten the garden space. The fuzzy-looking flower spikes of liatris can also serve as a garden focal flower among perennial plantings.
  • Oriental Lily - While many types of lilies can be planted in early spring for summer flowers, Oriental lilies are among the most popular. Immensely aromatic, these large blooms are sure to please growers as well as anyone who passes close enough to smell their fragrance.
Tonya Barnett

Tonya Barnett has been gardening for 13 years. Flowers are her passion. She has trasformed her backyard into a cut flower garden, which she regularly chronicles on her YouTube channel