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20 bulbs to plant in spring

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As the days get longer and warmer, it’s time to start thinking about bulbs to plant in spring. A number of bulbs are available for planting in the spring season, including gladioli, dahlias, cannas, and calla lilies. Each type has its own unique characteristics suited to different areas of the garden.

Lily bulb - cultivar is zelmira - march 2023

1. Lily

Lilies are a favorite in gardens across the continent. From glamorous Asiatic and Oriental lilies to other types of lilies (including specialty and species), there’s a lily for every garden. You can grow them to enjoy the outdoors and a few extra lily plants to have enough flowers for bouquets too.

When selecting lily bulbs for planting, it’s important to make sure they’re healthy and free of disease or damage. Check for any discoloration on the outside of the bulb before purchasing.

Planting lily bulbs should take place in early spring when temperatures are still cool, but the ground has thawed. Soil that is properly drained and slightly acidic can help lilies thrive. Dig a hole about three times as deep as the height of your bulb. Then place the bulb in the ground pointed side up. Cover with soil and water deeply. Here’s a complete guide on planting lily bulbs.

Water your newly planted lilies regularly during their first growing season, making sure to avoid over-watering them; too much moisture can cause rot and other diseases which may harm their growth potential. Once established, however, most varieties don’t require frequent watering beyond what nature provides naturally through rainfall or irrigation systems installed in your yard.

During the summer, fertilize your lilies to help them reach their full potential when the flowering season rolls around. Deadheading spent blooms (removing them from the stem) after they have finished flowering will encourage more buds to form while helping keep away pests.

Gladiolus bulb to be planted

2. Gladiolus

Gladiolus is a popular spring-planted bulb for home gardeners. Their tall spikes of bright flowers make them a beautiful addition to flower beds or even larger container gardens.

Most gladioli should be dug up before the first frost in cool climates and stored indoors over winter. The corms (bulbs) can then be replanted in early spring when temperatures warm up.

When planting more than one bulb together, space them about four inches apart from each other, so they have room to grow without overcrowding each other’s root systems. To ensure your gladioli stay vibrant in the summer, supply them with adequate hydration and fertilizer throughout their growth period.

Dahlia tubers for sale in march

3. Dahlia

Dahlias are vibrant and beautiful flowers that can be grown in North America. They come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes, making them perfect for adding interest to any garden. The blooms of dahlias range from small pom-poms to large dinner plate-size blossoms (see all the types), with an array of colors including white, yellow, pink, red, and purple.

When planting dahlia tubers, it is important to choose a spot that gets plenty of sun, but also has good drainage so the roots don’t become waterlogged or rot away. Planting should take place in mid-spring when there is no longer danger of frost or cold temperatures at night. These plants don’t like cool temperatures!

Dig a hole about 8 inches deep and add some compost or well-rotted manure before placing the tuber inside with its eyes facing up towards the sky. Backfill with soil, then firm down gently around it before giving it a good watering – this will help ensure your dahlia develops strong roots quickly, resulting in better-blooming performance later on.

Stake taller varieties by tying the stems gently to bamboo sticks at 6-12 inch intervals. Fertilizing your plants once every few weeks during the growing season. Deadhead spent blooms.

Bags of canna bulbs for spring planting

4. Canna Lily

Canna lilies are a beautiful, vibrant addition to any garden. These bulbs produce large flower stalks with colorful blooms ranging from orange and yellow to red and pink.

When selecting the perfect location for your canna lilies, choose a spot with ample sunlight. Wait until nighttime temperatures stay well above freezing before planting your bulbs; this is usually around mid-spring, depending on where you live and what type of climate it is (warmer southern gardens will likely be ready sooner than colder northern gardens).

Once established, these plants require minimal maintenance: simply water regularly during dry spells and fertilize every couple of months during their growing season (early spring through late summer/early fall). If desired, deadhead spent flower blossoms once all petals have fallen off.

5. Calla lily

Calla lilies are elegant and beautiful flowers that can be found in many gardens. They’re a classic choice for adding color to your garden and make an excellent addition. With their bright sculptural petals, these flowers stand out from other plants in the garden.

When planting calla lilies in your garden, choose a spot with full sun exposure or partial shade, depending on your climate zone. The soil should be light and well-draining, with lots of organic matter added for nutrients. If possible, add some composted manure or peat moss before planting to help retain moisture while providing essential nutrients for the plant’s growth cycle.

Watering regularly is essential for maintaining these flowers’ health, helping them last through their extended bloom period. To keep calla lilies looking their best all season long, fertilize regularly using a balanced fertilizer specifically designed for flowering plants like callas every few weeks during the growing season (spring through fall).

Finally, when winter arrives, it is time to dig up your callas before frost sets in (in areas with cold winters). Store them indoors until springtime, when they can go back outside again. With proper care, these gorgeous flowers will bring beauty into any outdoor space year after year.

Begonia

6. Begonia

Begonias are a favorite among gardeners. Begonias come in an array of hues, forms, and dimensions to suit any exterior space. Plus, they’re easy to care for and can thrive even in shady areas. Whether you’re looking for something low-maintenance or want an eye-catching statement piece for your yard, begonias are a perfect choice.

No shortage of options exists when it comes to begonias. Wax begonias offer waxy leaves in green or bronze hues; rex begonias showcase intricate foliage patterns; tuberous begonias flaunt bright pink and yellow blossoms; angel wing varieties sport delicate white flowers on long stems; and dragon wing types boast dramatic red petals resembling wings when open.

No matter which types you choose, all begonia plants need similar conditions to thrive: moist soil (but not soggy), indirect sunlight (or filtered light indoors), and regular watering during active growth periods (spring through fall). Fertilize regularly during their growing season using an organic fertilizer formulated specifically for flowering plants – this will help promote more blooms throughout the summer months.

Poppy anemone

7. Poppy anemone

Poppy anemone is a beautiful flower typically planted in spring that can add color and life to any garden. The blossoms of poppy anemone come in a variety of vibrant hues, including pink, red, white, and even yellow. The foliage is also attractive with its feathery leaves. They are easy to care for and will thrive in full sun or partial shade locations.

The poppy anemone grows best in moist soils with good drainage but can tolerate some drought conditions once established. The poppy anemone does not thrive in overly warm environments, so it is best to keep them away from areas that experience extreme heat during the summertime.

It’s important to water your poppy anemones regularly during dry spells; however, avoid overwatering as this could cause root rot or other fungal diseases on the plant’s roots which may lead to death if left untreated for too long. Make sure you mulch around the base of your plants after planting – this helps retain moisture levels while keeping weeds away from their delicate stems and leaves.

Caladium

8. Caladium

Caladium is a lush tropical plant boasting bold, vivid foliage in hues of pink, red, white, and green – an ideal pick for bringing vibrancy to your garden with minimal upkeep. It’s easy to care for and requires minimal maintenance once established. This makes caladiums perfect for busy homeowners who want to add a splash of color without having to spend too much time tending their gardens.

Caladiums can be planted in full sun or partial shade depending on the variety you choose. Keep the soil damp, yet not overly wet to prevent root decay. Fertilize monthly during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. If planting multiple plants together, space them at least 12 inches apart so they have enough room to grow properly without overcrowding each other out.

When planting caladium bulbs, dig holes about twice as deep as the bulb itself and place them pointy side up in the hole before covering them back up with soil and gently pressing down around it until firmly packed in place. Water thoroughly after planting then continue regular watering throughout its growing season (April through October).

Cyclamen

9. Cyclamen

Cyclamen is a beautiful flower that has been around for centuries. The plant grows from tuberous roots and produces delicate blooms with five petals that range in color from white to deep pink or purple.

Cyclamen are perfect for those with little gardening experience or a limited amount of time to dedicate, as they’re easy to maintain. Cyclamen favor cooler climes, so they should be situated in spots that receive some shade during the hottest period of the day.

When it comes to watering, cyclamen do best when kept moist but not soggy; too much water can lead to root rot or other problems. In terms of soil type, cyclamen like rich loam with plenty of organic matter such as compost or peat moss added into it before planting. Fertilizing your plants every month will help ensure healthy growth and vibrant blooms throughout the season.

Tuberose

10. Tuberose

Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) is a fragrant flowering plant that has been used in perfumes and flower arrangements for centuries. Native to Mexico and Central America, the flowers are white with yellow centers and have an intensely sweet scent that can fill an entire room. Popular for nuptial arrangements, such as boutonnieres, corsages, and table decorations, these blooms are often included in bouquets.

Tuberose grows best in warm climates with lots of sun exposure. Plant them in soil that drains well and is filled with organic matter, such as compost or manure. Water regularly during dry spells but don’t let them sit too long in waterlogged soils; they won’t tolerate it very well.

Crocosmia bulbs

11. Crocosmia

Crocosmia is a bright tropical-looking flower that’s surprisingly cold-hardy. And not only do gardeners love these plants, but hummingbirds do too.

Native to South Africa, this member of the iris family can be grown in USDA zones 5-9. It’s easy to care for, with minimal pruning required once established. The flowers range from scarlet, tangerine, and saffron to rose-hued and blossom in the middle of summer until the end of autumn.

Plant crocosmia in well-drained soil that gets plenty of sun for the best flowers. Water regularly during dry spells, but don’t overdo it – too much water can lead to root rot and other problems. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer every spring as new growth appears for best results. Deadhead spent blooms throughout the season to keep your plants looking their best.

Peruvian daffodil

12. Peruvian daffodil

Peruvian daffodils, otherwise known as Inca lilies, can be a captivating addition to any garden. Native to Peru and Bolivia, these beautiful flowers come in shades of yellow, white and pink. The unique shape of the petals give them an exotic look that is sure to add interest and beauty to your outdoor space.

Peruvian daffodils are relatively easy to care for as they require minimal maintenance once established. They thrive in full sun or partial shade with regular watering and occasional fertilizing during the growing season.

When planting Peruvian daffodils, select a spot that provides well-draining soil and ample space for root growth. Planting them too close together can lead to overcrowding which can cause stunted growth.

Agapanthus

13. Agapanthus

Agapanthus is a beautiful flowering bulb that adds cool color and architectural shape. The plants produce tall flower stalks with clusters of bell-shaped blooms in shades of blue, white, and purple. They do well in most growing conditions, though they prefer full sun and regular watering when newly planted.

When planting agapanthus bulbs, it’s important to provide them with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season and plenty of space between each bulb so they have room to grow without overcrowding other plants. If planting under deciduous trees where light levels vary throughout the year, choose earlier flowering varieties such as ‘Blue Heaven’ or ‘White Star’.

Freesia

14. Freesia

Freesia is a beautiful, fragrant flower that’s sure to bring life and color to any garden. Its vibrant petals, ranging from yellow to orange and pink or white, are sure to be a delightful sight in any garden with its characteristic aroma. Freesias are native to South Africa and have been cultivated for centuries by home gardeners around the world. They’re easy to grow and can thrive in almost any soil type as long as they get plenty of sunlight.

Planting freesias in groups will give you a stunning display of blooms throughout spring and summertime. When planting freesias, make sure you space them at least 6 inches apart so they have room to spread their roots. You should also plant them slightly deeper than other flowers – about 2-3 inches deep instead of 1 inch – since their root system grows down rather than sideways as most plants do.

Ranunculus bulbs - pink cultivars

15. Ranunculus

Ranunculus is a spring-flowering bulb that’s perfect for adding some elegant color to your garden in early spring. These smaller roots/bulbs are easy to plant and can be planted any time from late winter until early summer.

You’ll want to look for larger bulbs since they generally bloom better than smaller ones. Plant them about three inches deep and make sure the soil is well drained so the bulbs don’t rot in cool, damp soil.

For the best bloom results, find an area with around six hours of sunlight each day; Take care that no leafy trees are casting too much shade during the flowering season. You should also give them plenty of space between each bulb when planting; about four inches apart will do nicely.

Red hot poker

16. Red hot poker

Red hot poker, also known as torch lily or kniphofia, is a beautiful and hardy perennial. The plant grows in clumps of grass-like foliage with spikes of vibrant red and yellow flowers rising above it.

Red hot pokers are easy to care for and require minimal maintenance once established. They prefer full sun but will tolerate some shade and can survive temperatures down to -10°F (-23°C).

For optimal blossoms, ensure your red hot poker plants are supplied with sufficient water during their growing season (spring-fall) and soil that drains well. Adding mulch around the base of the plants helps retain moisture in dry conditions. If necessary, fertilize lightly in spring with an all-purpose fertilizer. Deadhead spent blooms throughout the summer months; this encourages new growth and more flowers.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try propagating your own red-hot poker plants by dividing them every few years. Simply dig up the entire clump carefully and divide it into smaller sections before replanting each section separately. This method ensures healthy growth while also allowing you to create multiple specimens from one original plant – a great way to spread these fiery beauties throughout your garden.

Crinums

17. Crinums

Crinums are unique and beautiful flowering plants that are sure to bring any garden to life. These flowers boast large, glossy foliage and come in a range of vibrant hues, such as pink, white, purple, yellow, and red. They require minimal care once established but need full sun and ample water for optimal growth.

When planting crinums, make sure the soil has good drainage; otherwise, they may rot due to too much water. Spring is the optimum time to plant crinums, but they can be planted anytime during the growing season if needed. It’s important not to over-fertilize these plants as it can lead them into shock, which could stunt their growth.

Galtonia

18. Galtonia candicans

Summer hyacinth (Galtonia candicans) is a summer flowering bulb that produces delicate white blooms. These flowers can be planted in the spring for a show of flowers in the early summer months. The flower stalks will generally bloom from May to July depending on the growing conditions.

When planting, select a spot with some sun and deciduous trees for shade during the day’s hottest hours. A balanced fertilizer should be used when preparing your garden bed before planting. You’ll find that these delightful plants thrive best when given ample sunlight and water.

Montbretias

19. Montbretia

Montbretias, also known as African corn lilies, are eye-catching flowers to plant. They have long, strap-like leaves that can reach up to three feet long and produce vibrant orange or red flowers with yellow centers during summer. Their bright colors make great border plants for flower beds or containers around patios and decks and attract hummingbirds.

Montbretias are easy to care for. These plants favor sunny or partly shaded spots and soil with an average pH that drains easily. Be sure to space them at least 18 inches apart so they have plenty of room to grow.

To ensure your plants get enough moisture throughout the season, add a 2-inch layer of mulch over the roots after planting them into the ground or potting soil mix if you’re growing them in containers. Fertilize montbretia in spring using a balanced fertilizer. This will encourage strong root growth and promote more blooms throughout the season; however, too much nitrogen can cause excessive leaf growth, which could lead to weaker stems that may not support large flowers later on down the line, so use sparingly.

FAQs about bulbs to plant in the spring

Can bulb plants be planted in the spring?

Yes, many plants that grow from bulbs can be planted in the spring. Plants like lilies, gladiolus, and ranunculus are most commonly planted in the spring. On the other hand, fall is the right time to plant tulips, daffodils, and crocus bulbs. That said, you may be able to find potted tulips or daffodils in the garden center in the spring, and you can plant those in your garden in the spring.

Can I plant Dutch iris bulbs in spring?

Yes, you can plant Dutch iris bulbs in the spring. Plant Dutch iris bulbs as soon as the soil temp reaches about 10°C (50°F), and no later than mid-spring. Planting should be done as soon as possible after the purchase or delivery of the bulbs and no later than early summer.

What happens if you plant bulbs in spring instead of fall?

If bulbs are planted in spring instead of fall, they may not bloom until the following year. Additionally, some types of bulbs require a period of cold dormancy to flower properly, and if planted too early, they may fail to produce blooms or have reduced flowering. Moreover, late planting can also heighten the possibility of illnesses and pest insects.

Before you go…

Bulbs to plant in spring are an excellent way to add color and life to your garden. Check out the array of bulbs, including lilies, gladiolus, dahlia, canna lilies, calla lilies, and begonias – whatever you pick will surely bring a vibrant splash of color and life into your garden.

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References

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Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a quintessential Canadian gardener. An engineer by trade, she tends to an ever-expanding collection of plants. In her world, laughter blooms as freely as her flowers, and every plant is raised with a dash of Canadian grit.

Mary Jane is a certified Master Gardener and also holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. She's also a proud mom of three, teaching her little sprouts the crucial difference between a garden friend and foe.

When she's not playing in the dirt, Mary Jane revels in her love for Taylor Swift, Gilmore Girls, ice hockey, and the surprisingly soothing sounds of bluegrass covers of classic hip-hop songs. She invites you to join her garden party, a place where you can share in the joy of growing and where every day is a new opportunity to find the perfect spot for yet another plant.

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