Can You Plant Bulbs in The Spring?

Planting bulbs in Spring will surely add some color to your garden. But when is the best time to plant bulbs? Whilst spring-flowers, tulips, hyacinths, and other autumn-planting bulbs add greatly to any garden, summer-blooming bulbs also deserve an area in the landscape to be planted in spring. Plants in the spring need very little upkeep and can be planted easily into the garden beds. Planting spring bulbs means a luxurious garden, full of scent and color throughout the summer.

Can you plant bulbs in the spring? As soon as the danger of winter has elapsed, summer bulbs can be planted.  The 5 best bulbs to plant in spring for summer blooms are:

What are the Best Bulbs to Plant During Spring?

  1. Oriental Lillies, classified as Lillium Orientalis ‘Stargazer’ are known to be hybrids from the Oriental group and has a fragrant perfume. Stargazers usually need to be planted:
  • In well-drained clayey or sandy soil
  • When the sun is up high as they grow fast with full sunlight.

These mature and grow like this:

  • 36 inches in height
  • Spreading from 10 to 14 inches
  • With 2 to 8 flowers a stem

       These colorful sunshine-loving beauties bloom during mid or late summer.

  • Crocosmia: This longstanding plant grows technically from corms, similar to gladiolus and crocus (the bulb-like organs of storage). The sword-like plant is bright green about three feet high. The stalks of arching flowers spread over the leaves in the middle of the summer.

The popular pigments, depending on the variety, are

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow

        Crocosmia likes sunlight and birds sometimes dine on its nectar.

  • Asian Lilies: Asian Lilies vary considerably from their above-mentioned Oriental cousins. They bloom faster, without fragrance, and are dashingly colorful. They usually are not as large as Oriental lilies, and their stems that are more durable, so they don’t need extra support.
  • Chinese Ground Orchids (Bletilla): The Chinese floor orchid is your first choice if you are like to plant summer-blooming bulbs that prefer shade. Although it grows from a bulbous rhizome, it is usually classified as a summer-blooming bulb.

Growth characteristics of the Chinese ground orchid:

  • 18 inches in height
  • A terrestrial orchid
  • Hardy down into USDA zone 5 with a layer of winter mulch
  • Cattleya-like flowers n white, purple or lavender are distinctive and
  • Spread to form a pleasant colony over time
  • Hardy Begonia: this robust and shade-loving bulb can survive a very cold winter. The leaves are shaped like a lopsided heart, green on the top and burgundy below. Masses of pink or white flowers dominate in mid-summer.

Although the hardy begonia emerges late in spring, once it does, it is hard to stop from growing. This begonia is beautifully naturalized and grows approximately two meters high.

The planting of summer bulbs, without a doubt, creates a landscape that everybody can enjoy and appreciate.

Types of Bulbs

In life, it is not only important what you do, but how you do it and when you do it. The same applies to plant bulbs when deciding the best time to plant bulbs and if you should be planting bulbs in the spring or at a different time.

For all those people who are new to gardening, a gardening bulb in layman’s term is geophyte, which refers to the underground energy storage structure of a plant.

Bulbs can be separated into two types:

What Are Spring Bulbs?

Spring bulbs also called hardy bulbs. They are planted in fall. Their winter is spent in the ground, and they flower in spring.  In colder climates we can plant the spring bulbs:

In warmer climates, it is advised to refrigerate the spring bulbs for 6 to 10 weeks (depending on the bulb) until the ground is cool enough for planting.

What Are Summer Bulbs?

Summer bulbs also called tender bulbs. They are planted in spring and flower out in summer. Some common summer bulbs are:

Some bulbs might bloom later in summer or for a long time like Dahlias, which blooms into fall.  Summer bulbs can be planted early into Mid-Spring.

How To Plant a Bulb?

It isn’t difficult to plant bulbs, but there are some guidelines to be followed when planting bulbs.

Depth:  This is an important aspect. You cannot go too deep to plant the bulb, nor can you plant it on the top. In general, bulbs do well when planted around 2.5 to 3 times deeper than their tall.

For example, if the bulb is three inches tall, the base of the bulb after planting should be nine inches deep.

Soil:– As water is to fish, the soil is to bulb. 

How Do You Know if Bulbs Are Still Good?

Good care and storage can keep bulbs healthy for years. As we already know, spring bulbs are also known as hardy bulbs, and summer bulbs are tender bulbs.

There are a few points you need to remember for maintaining the health of flower bulbs. Many bulbs can be left in the ground over winter, but bulbs like Calla Lilies, Elephant Ears, Freesia are a few bulbs that need to be dug up and stored properly.

We need to wipe all dirt and debris away after digging up the bulbs in the fall. By doing this, we can prevent the bulb from rotting. But do remember to leave the bulbs in the sun for about a week so that it can dry. 

Where we place the bulb is very important. It is advisable we place the bulbs once it’s dry in a box filled with dry materials like:

While placing into the dry material, ensure there’s space in between with the roots down similar to how its placed in the soil. Then cover them up and place the box in a dry and dark place.

Bulbs have different storage temperatures, so you should know the temperature, and this will tell you where to place the box. For example, basement, garage, attic are possible locations. Ensure the bulbs are not freezing and they should also be kept away from direct source of heat.

How Long Do Bulbs Last When Unplanted?

If stored correctly, most bulbs can be kept unplanted for about 1 year. If your bulb crackles when you press it, it is most probably outdated. Consider your bulb as rotten if it feels soft or mushy.

A healthy bulb is firm and plump but not withered and overly dry. By now you would have got an idea on how to plant and when to plant the bulbs and how long can you keep unplanted bulbs and how to find out whether they are still good. So, get some bulbs and start planting it.


When Is Too Late to Plant A Bulb?

Better late than never, they say, but when it comes to planting bulbs, the best time to plant bulbs is six weeks prior to the hardening of the soil due to freezing frost setting in.  It also depends on the weather conditions of the area one resides in.

  • In colder northern climates, it is better to plant the bulbs in September or October.
  • In warmer climates, it is ideal to plant the bulbs in December.

The correct temperature also assures the growth of healthy bulbs as well as time to form stable roots is essential for strong plants to grow later but provided the bulbs were tucked in for winter’s rest underground.

But bear in mind, if they are planted too early, it could give rise to fungus or disease problems.

Unlike seeds, bulbs have a better chance of making it if planted in a pot or the flower bed in your garden instead of withering away in a cupboard or stored box.  As flower bulbs are survivors by nature’s design and the proof of its success stories regarding the blooming after being planted against all the odds is amazing but true indeed.

Eyerly Family

The Eyerly Family is a family of 8 that loves gardening. Over the past several years we have been applying what we learn about gardening to our own 16x16 raised back yard garden. Our garden is very prolific and we grow a wide variety of vegetables which we love to eat! Click here to learn more about the Eyerly Family.

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