Aww, the sun has made an appearance, when stepping outside I no longer have the chill of cold air cutting through me. I can just sense the change in the seasons is upon us and it is glorious! After receiving snow the first Friday in March it is welcome to see the sun and be outside in a t-shirt! With all the nice weather right now it has been thinking of what to plant this Spring. It is the time to think of summer flowers and Spring is the perfect time to plant some beautiful bulbs and tubers for summer color.
So you may be wondering what type of bulbs can be planted in Spring for growth in Summer. This post is mainly going to focus on bulbs and tubers although there are other flowers that come from seed that can also be planted closer to summer.
Lilies come in a variety of types and colors, these are bulbs that you can plant now and can have bloom throughout the summer. These bulbs can also be planted in Fall to get a jump start on rooting. Lily bulbs can be left in the ground and don’t need to be dug up in the Fall and should come back a year to year and multiply to give you more and more blooms each year.
Gladiolus or “Glads” as a lot of people call them are another type of bulb that when planted in Spring will give you beautiful colorful flowers throughout the summer. Glads are a bulb that should be dug up each Fall depending on where you live. Here in the Pacific NW with our wet climate, it is best to dig them up but I have also left them to re-bloom the next summer. I’ve had some luck with this but also some bulbs that I assume became rotten and didn’t re-bloom the following year.
Calla Lily Bulbs
I have found new love with calla lily bulbs! These are a bulb that can be planted and come back year after year without being dug prior to the Fall (depending on your location). When I was a kid we had some at our house that was white but my Mom really disliked them because they are a well-known funeral flower. But as I have come to find they come in a variety of colors, are pretty hardy, can be planted in sun to partial shade and look great in bouquets!
Now these next three: Dahlias, peonies, and begonias are technically not bulbs, they are tubers but both can still be planted in Spring.
Dahlias are one of my favorite flowers! They will continuously bloom from mid-late summer and are a pretty hardy flower that will last for a good week and a half in a vase. In our area dahlias should be planted in late Spring/early Summer and then dug up each Fall after they are done blooming. The reason for this in our area is because we can get wet and cold Winters that could cause the bulbs to rot and/or freeze and then will not come back the next year. Truth be told I have some dahlias that I did leave over winter. Some came back and some did not. This last year I decided to dig them all up and store them over Winter because I had invested some money in the bulbs I bought from a local grower (Swan Island Dahlias) and didn’t want to lose them to rot. Dahlias are a heat-loving plant and will do well in a full sun area.
As mentioned about peonies are not a bulb and are actually a tuber. But unlike dahlias peonies can be left in the ground year-round and don’t need to be dug up for winter storage. Peonies are hands down my favorite flower! So much so that each year on Mother’s Day in the recent years it has been our tradition to visit a couple of local peony farms and see all the pretty flowers, take pictures and purchase multiple peony plants. (One can never have too many peony plants, IMO!) In the Pacific NW, our growing season for peonies is very very short, usually about 3 weeks in May. Peonies like full sun to partial sun and I have never had any trouble getting them to grow in a partially shaded area as well.
Out of all the bulbs and tubers listed, I am least familiar with begonias but that’s just because I have yet to plant any of my own. But after doing a lot of research they may become my new favorite tubers! They can be planted in sun or shade, work well for indoor or outdoor planting and would do well in pots. Begonias are similar to the dahlias in that they are not suited to stay outdoors in areas that get below freezing so you would want to dig these out in the Fall and store for the Winter.
Sources for Bulbs & Tubers
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- A Complete Seed Starting Guide
- Resources for Preserving and Canning your Garden Bounty