Spring Planted Bulbs for a Stunning Summer Garden
In the bulb world, plantings are divided into spring and fall — in general, bulbs planted in the fall bloom in the spring, and bulbs planted in the spring bloom in the summer (and sometimes into the fall). To confuse things a bit, summer-blooming bulbs are often called "spring bulbs," referring not to the time they bloom but the time they are planted. (The more you know. . .)
So, let’s say you’ve focused on spring-blooming bulbs in the past (Who could blame you? They're lovely!), and now that you’ve been bitten by the Bulb Bug, you want to continue the fun by adding in some summer bloomers. Where to begin? Ahhh, that’s where we come in. Let us show you how to make your summer garden spectacular.
Why Plant Summer Blooming Bulbs?
As your spring-blooming bulbs (Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths) complete their flowering cycle, their foliage will look good for a bit, and then it’ll start to fade and droop. This is exactly the time when you want other, summer-flowering bulbs beginning to emerge, so you don’t have huge swaths of unattractive foliage with nothing coming afterwards.
Summer-blooming bulbs also combine well with a large range of other blooming and non-blooming plants, making perfect companions during the warm growing season.
Which Bulbs Bloom in the Summer?
Spring-planted, summer-blooming bulbs begin blooming anywhere from late spring into the summer, and even throughout the season until early fall. So, if you really want a 2-to 3-season bulb display, all you have to do is make a list of what bulbs you’d like to have, and what their bloom times are, then plant at the right time. Here’s a partial list to get you inspired, but click here to see our full summer-blooming bulb offerings.
Early Summer Bulbs
Mid-to-Late Summer Bulbs
Early Fall Bulbs
How to Interplant Summer Blooming Bulbs?
Your goal is to always have your planting beds looking fresh, with something growing or blooming to appreciate. The trick is to plant summer-blooming bulbs with other types of plants so that when the bulb foliage and blooms fade, other plants are either emerging or blooming.
To do this, you’ll need to know when plants in your area are beginning to grow and bloom for that season — but once you understand this rhythm in the garden, the bloom sequence that happens next is nothing short of magical.
Here are three ways to interplant summer-blooming bulbs with other plants to ensure a picture-perfect display throughout the entire growing season.
Plant bulbs with perennials: If you have early summer-flowering bulbs, for example, you’ll want to plan for perennials that show off their leaves and flowers just when the bulb foliage is going south. Try planting alliums with salvias for a stunning combo, and mix astilbe with ferns, rudbeckia and asters.
Plant bulbs with other bulbs: If you want a dedicated bulb garden, then all you need to do is to make sure you have bulbs emerging when others are fading. You can do this with many different varieties of daylily that bloom anywhere from late spring to late summer, or simply by choosing a succession of different bulbs that have consecutive bloom times. (Chose from our handy list above.)
Plant bulbs with annuals: Nothing is more charming than bulbs popping up through annual plantings or wildflower meadows. Annuals and wildflower meadows typically have 1-3 month bloom time, so adding bulbs in will ensure that there’s plenty of other plant material to cover the bulb foliage when it starts to fade. Plant the bulbs first, then the annuals on top.
It's always a good idea to use a small trowel to dig when planting bulbs around other plants (including bulbs that bloom during a different season) and be careful, even a bit ginger, when digging the holes so that you don't cut a sleeping plant in half.
- Katie Elzer-Peters