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25 Bulbs to Plant in Spring for Summer and Fall Blooms

Updated on February 22, 2023

Create an oasis of color, form and fragrance with these spring-planted bulbs that bloom in summer and fall.

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Photo: Image courtesy of Felicia Feaster

Plant Spring Bulbs for Showy Flowers Into the Fall

While autumn-planted daffodils and tulips leap to mind at the mention of bulbs, there are a host of bulbs to plant in spring for spring, summer and fall beauty. These opulent flowers and ornamental foliages help fill gaps in the garden when other plants might fade. Explore selections of bulbs to plant in spring and get tips for growing these unique spring-planted bulbs for bold impact, such as Dahlia 'Maarten Zwaan' (shown here) and other choices for sun or shade.

Once you’ve selected a planting site with the recommended sun exposure, work organic matter into the soil for drainage (this helps prevent wet, rotting bulbs). Incorporate an organic bulb fertilizer to boost soil health. Some bulbs do not require water at planting time but plants should be regularly watered once they're actively growing. Many spring-planted bulbs excel as container plants, too — although for canna lilies and other plants with large root systems, opt for dwarf varieties (unless you have a giant pot).

Ever-popular garden lilies Dutch irises could be added to this list, although whether to plant in fall or spring depends on your growing zone. In general, plant bulbs after all danger of frost has passed. Some will bloom heartily in their first season while others will grow more robust if they can perennialize. Enjoy a lush garden thanks to spring-planted bulbs.

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Photo: Burpee


Also called lily of the Nile or African lily, agapanthus is a treasured ornamental. With a similar foliar form to amaryllis and a sparkling likeness to allium flower, lovers of either should seek agapanthus for its summer bloom time. Low-growing, lance-shaped foliage sends up 24 to 30-inch tall stems adorned by bursts of tiny bell-shaped blooms, from white to lavender blue. While you'll commonly find agapanthus grouped for sale with spring-planted bulbs, it technically grows from a bare-root start rather than a bulb; for practical purposes, handle it like a bulb.

Plant in sun to part shade at 12 inches apart and one inch deep, and enjoy blooms from June to July. Plants may take a couple of seasons to get established before blooming. Hardy in USDA Gardening Zones 8 to 10.

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Photo: Shain Rievley


Every gardener needs a trusty plant that can lend color and light to shady spots. Caladium is an easy-growing tropical plant with heart-shaped leaves levitating atop graceful stems. With varieties ranging from classic white variegation to painterly splashes of pink, caladium has quick-growing ornamental value — no flowers necessary. Plant bulbs a foot apart at a depth of 1 inch in a full shade to part sun location; foliage height will reach 24 to 30 inches. Hardy to Zone 10; excellent container plant.

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Photo: Anthony Tesselaar Plants at

Canna Lily

This tropical stunner makes a fantastic focal element for the summer garden. Reaching 6 to 8 feet tall, this specimen has stage presence with its punchbowl spikes of bright blooms and broad, lime-green leaves. For those who love the look but not the size, dwarf varieties are available.

Plant canna lilies 18 to 24 inches apart and 12 inches deep in full sun. Cut spent blooms back to the second or third leaf from the ground through the summer to maintain a manageable size. Spreading quickly by rhizomes, cannas are likely to flower in their first season. Hardy to Zones 7 to 10.

Explore fourth-generation family-run Horn Canna Farm for an impressive selection. Pictured are Tropicanna canna (striped leaves and orange blooms), Tropicanna Gold (green and yellow striped leaves and yellow and orange flowers) and Tropicanna Black (dark leaves and red blooms).

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