A Basic Guide to Growing Beautiful Spring and Summer Bulbs

September 12, 2022

Planting flowers from bulbs has some major benefits. When you plant a mix of spring and summer-blooming varieties, you can have a garden that bursts into color as soon as the snow melts!


We love growing flowers from bulbs! While bulb gardening is an exercise in delayed gratification—it takes a few months for them to soak up nutrients from the soil—all that fuel makes for incredibly rapid growth when their bloom time arrives! 

There are two main types of bulbs: spring-blooming and summer-blooming. While they’re both fantastic additions to the garden, their growing requirements have a few key differences. Here’s how you can enjoy a low-maintenance garden bursting with color all through the spring and summer!


The Perks of Growing Spring and Summer Bulbs

If you plant a mixture of spring and summer bulbs in your garden beds, you’ll enjoy long-lasting color through both seasons. As soon as your spring blooms start to fade, your summer-blooming bulbs will arrive to brighten up the landscape. Flowering bulbs can also complement your indoor decor, as they tend to have thicker, upright stems, making them perfect for cut bouquets and indoor arrangements. Flowering bulbs are usually pretty resistant to pests and diseases, and if you plant varieties with similar sunlight and care requirements, growing them in the garden is a total breeze! 


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How to Grow Spring-Blooming Bulbs 

If you want to learn how to plant spring bulbs like daffodils and tulips, the most important tip is that they require a period of cold temperatures. This period is necessary for keeping them dormant over the winter, and when the temperatures rise, it signals them to start growing. If you plant spring bulbs in early spring when the soil is already warm, they won’t bloom. Instead, you’ll want to plant them in late fall before the snow falls and the ground freezes. November is usually a safe time to plant!

Plant your bulbs to the recommended depth listed on their package. Sprinkle bone meal into the hole before adding the bulb—this helps their roots spread and get nicely established. Make sure the pointy end of your bulb is facing upwards when you fill the hole back up with soil. Water it generously, then spread a layer of mulch to help keep them insulated over the winter. 

Some early spring bloomers, like crocuses, will appear as soon as the temperatures rise, often while snow is still on the ground! Others appear a bit later in the season, so planting a diverse variety will bring plenty of visual interest and color that lasts.  


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After their blooms fade, you may be tempted to cut back their leaves, as they don’t add much ornamental value to the garden. We don’t recommend this because the remaining leaves act as solar panels for the plant, absorbing energy for the following year’s growth cycle. If you leave the foliage alone until it dies back, next year’s blooms will be much bigger!


A Guide to Growing Summer-Blooming Bulbs

Summer bulbs are perfect for adding color to the garden after your spring bloomers have faded, and they don’t need to go through a cold period to bloom properly. We recommend planting them once your spring bulbs start to emerge from the soil, so you can intersperse them properly without crowding them together. Try not to disturb the roots of your existing plants, as this can hurt their ability to soak up nutrients. 

Plant them in holes of the recommended depth, with a sprinkle of bone meal, pointy side facing upward. Water generously, and in a couple of months, you’ll start to see some action! 


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While many summer-blooming bulbs are hardy to Zone 7, some varieties are treated as annuals and can’t survive our winters in Pennsylvania. For example, cannas are extremely popular for mixed container arrangements and garden beds all across America, but they’re only hardy in Zones 9 and 10. However, this doesn’t mean you have to throw your plants away at the end of the growing season! You can safely store summer bulbs indoors for the winter.

Once the foliage has died off, cut it back and gently dig up the bulbs. Brush off the dirt, wrap them in paper towels, then store them in a sealed container in a cool, dark location. 


Primex Garden Center-Pennsylvania -A Guide to Growing Bulbs-assorted packaged blooming daffodils for sale

Ready to start growing spring and summer bulbs? Visit Primex Garden Center to see all our spectacular varieties of bulbs for sale in Glenside. If you need pointers or care instructions for your chosen plants, don’t hesitate to ask our experts for assistance!