Create Your Garden

26 Terrific Summer Bulbs to Grow in your Garden or Pots

Choosing the Perfect Summer Bulbs for a Vibrant Garden, Patio or Balcony. Don't Forget to Plant them in Spring!

Summer Bulbs, Dahlia, Lily, Calla Lily

Summer bulbs are a fantastic way to inject vibrant colors, varied textures, and captivating fragrances into your garden or pots. Unlike their spring counterparts, summer bulbs tend to bloom later in the season, offering a refreshing burst of life and beauty during the hottest months. They are perfect for gardeners looking to extend the blooming season well into late summer and early fall.

Growing summer bulbs is relatively easy and rewarding, as many of them thrive with minimal care. They can be planted in the ground or in containers, making them versatile for different gardening spaces and styles. From sun-loving gladiolas to shade-tolerant begonias, there’s a summer bulb for every type of garden. Additionally, these bulbs often produce spectacular blooms that make excellent cut flowers for indoor arrangements.

When selecting summer bulbs for your garden or pots, consider factors such as sunlight exposure, soil type, and the overall design of your garden. Many summer bulbs prefer full sun and well-draining soil, but there are varieties that can also thrive in partial shade.

Why Should I Grow Summer Bulbs?

Growing summer bulbs offers numerous benefits, making them a valuable addition to any garden:

  • Vibrant Blooms: Summer bulbs provide a spectacular array of colors, from bright yellows to deep purples, enhancing your garden’s aesthetic appeal.
  • Extended Flowering: They bloom at a time when many spring flowers are fading, ensuring your garden remains lively and colorful throughout the season.
  • Variety of Shapes and Sizes: From the large, showy blooms of Dahlias to the delicate bells of Freesias, summer bulbs offer diverse forms and textures.
  • Easy to Grow: Many summer bulbs are low maintenance and easy to cultivate, making them ideal for both novice and experienced gardeners.
  • Versatility: Suitable for borders, containers, and cut flower gardens, they provide flexibility in garden design.
  • Attracts Pollinators: Blooming in summer, these bulbs are a vital source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
  • Fragrance: Many summer bulbs, like lilies and tuberoses, emit delightful fragrances that can transform your garden into a sensory haven.
  • Return Every Year: Perennial summer bulbs will come back year after year, offering long-term beauty with minimal effort.
  • Immediate Impact: Unlike some perennials, bulbs bloom in their first year, offering instant gratification in garden spaces.
  • Space Fillers: They can quickly fill gaps in the garden, providing lush foliage and blooms where other plants might struggle.

Garden Design with Summer Bulbs

Designing a garden with summer bulbs can create a vibrant, colorful, and dynamic landscape. Here are some tips to effectively incorporate summer bulbs into your garden design:

  • Color Coordination: Choose bulbs that complement your existing garden palette or create a new color theme. You can go for bold contrasts or subtle harmonies depending on your preference.
  • Succession Blooming: Plant bulbs with different blooming times to ensure continuous color throughout the season. For example, early-summer bloomers like Alliums can be followed by mid-summer flowers like Dahlias and late-summer stars like Gladiolus.
  • Height and Texture Variation: Mix bulbs of varying heights and textures for a layered look. Tall Lilies or Gladiolus can form the backdrop, while shorter species like Freesias or Crocosmias can fill the front.
  • Mass Planting for Impact: Plant bulbs in groups or drifts for a more impactful display rather than scattering individual bulbs. This approach creates swathes of color and texture.
  • Containers and Pots: Use containers to grow summer bulbs on patios, balconies, or to accentuate certain areas of the garden. This is also a great option for gardeners with limited space.
  • Companion Planting: Combine summer bulbs with perennial plants for a full-season display. For example, pair Lilies with Echinacea or plant Dahlias amongst ornamental grasses.
  • Naturalizing: Some bulbs, like Lilies, can be left to naturalize, forming larger clumps over the years and offering a more natural look.
  • Focal Points: Use striking bulbs, such as large Dahlias or exotic Lilies, as focal points in your garden beds or borders.
  • Pathway Edging: Edge pathways with shorter bulbs to lead the eye and define garden paths.
  • Cutting Garden: Dedicate a section of your garden to bulbs that are excellent for cutting, like Gladiolus and Dahlias, to bring the beauty of your garden indoors.

A Guide to Selecting, Planting, and Nurturing these Bulbs

Buying Summer-Flowering Bulbs

  • Choose High-Quality Bulbs: Look for firm, mold-free bulbs. Larger bulbs often produce more blooms.
  • Variety Selection: Consider bloom times, colors, heights, and sunlight requirements to ensure a diverse and continuous display.
  • Source Reliably: Purchase from reputable nurseries or garden centers to ensure good quality and disease-free bulbs.

Planting Summer-Flowering Bulbs

  • Timing: Plant in spring after the danger of frost has passed, or when the soil has warmed up.
  • Soil Preparation: Work the soil to a good depth and enrich it with compost or a well-balanced fertilizer.
  • Planting Depth and Spacing: Follow specific guidelines for each type of bulb. Generally, plant bulbs at a depth of about two to three times their diameter and space them according to their mature size.
  • Location: Choose a spot based on the light requirements of the bulbs. Most summer bulbs prefer full sun.

Growing Summer-Flowering Bulbs

  • Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist, especially during dry periods. Avoid overwatering to prevent rot.
  • Fertilization: Apply a balanced fertilizer monthly during the growing season to support robust growth and flowering.
  • Mulching: Mulch the soil to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and keep the roots cool.
  • Staking: Tall varieties may need staking to prevent them from falling over.
  • Deadheading: Remove spent blooms to encourage more flowers.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Watch for signs of pests or diseases and treat promptly if necessary.


  • Perennial Bulbs: Leave in the ground for next year. Add mulch for winter protection in colder areas.
  • Annual Bulbs: Dig up and store tender bulbs in a cool, dry place over winter.


Discover more flower bulbs for your garden with our Plant Finder

Garden Examples

A Hot Summer Border Idea with Dahlia, Crocosmia and Aster
A Brilliant Summer Border Idea with Crocosmia, Agapanthus and Grasses
A Sparkling Summer Border Idea with Easy-to-Grow Perennials
A Wonderful Summer Border Idea with Easy-to-Grow Plants
An Attractive Shady Garden Idea with Ferns, Hostas and Agapanthus
A Lovely Border Idea with Achillea, Agapanthus and Grasses

Recommended Guides

Popular Flower Bulbs For Your Garden and Pots
Brighten Up Your Garden From January Through May with Colorful Flower Bulbs
Flower Bulbs That Thrive Under Trees
Naturalizing Bulbs In The Lawn
Best Flower Bulbs For Your Rock Garden
Bulbs that Take the Heat
Underplanting Roses with Low-Growing Spring Bulbs
Bulbs that return to the garden year after year!
Best Flower Bulbs for Mediterranean Gardens in Cool Countries
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

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