Summer Blooming Bulbs for Zone 5 & 6

Summer Blooming Bulbs for Zone 5 & 6 are flower bulbs planted in the spring which produce some of the most dramatic garden color with minimal effort. Tuck them among your perennials to create a fuller looking bed, or create a special ‘patterned’ bulb garden to make your neighbors “ooh and ahh”!

The hardier summer blooming bulbs; such as iris and daylily can be planted fairly early in the season and not be bothered by cool soil. Tender bulbs, like begonias, dahlias, gladiolus, tropical cannas and caladiums, will prefer to wait until later spring when the soil is quite warm.

Many of these summer blooming bulbs do well in containers; use them to liven up your porch or deck. And don’t forget to plant extras for lovely cut-flower bouquets!

Summer flowering bulbs like the warm weather. Set out after the danger of frost is past and soil has warmed. To get an early start, you may plant cannas, tuberous begonias and dahlias in flats indoors.

Dahlias are My Favorite Summer Blooming Bulbs – So Much Variety!

Dahlia Envy

There’s simply no flower you can grow that will reward you with more blooms for as little work as the Dahlia! In just a single season, Dahlia plants will grow as full and lush as a mature rose bush, opening their brilliant blooms towards summer’s end.

Dahlias are frost tender. Your tubers can go directly into the ground in the spring after the ground has warmed and the chance of frost has passed. One good guideline? Plant dahlias at the same time you would plant tomatoes.

Check Out This Beautiful Selection of Dahlia Tubers – Click Here To View

You can find them in a variety of sizes, unique colors, and unexpected flower shapes. The hard part is deciding which lovely cultivar should grace your garden. Above all else, Dahlias are productive – so be sure to have your garden shears on hand for creating impromptu bouquets!

Planting Summer Blooming Bulbs

There are two basic methods of planting: 1. Dig individual holes for each plant or bulb. This can be done with a garden trowel or with a special hole-cutting tool called a bulb planter. 2. If you are planting several plants or bulbs in a single area, you may want to dig an entire bed to planting depth. Then you can place all the plants at once and fill dirt in around them.

“Summer Blooming Bulbs For Zone 5 & 6”

See below for a handy chart highlighting different types of bulbs / tubers and their light, depth, and spacing requirements:

Allium, GiantSun4-6″12-18″4′
Amaryllis, MiniatureSun2-3″5-7″8-12″
AnemoneSun/Pt Shade4″6-8″varies
Arum, DragonPt Shade6″4-6″36″
BegoniaShade/Pt Shade1″12″12″
BluebellsSun/Pt Shade3-4″6-8″12-14″
CaladiumShade/Pt Shade3-4″12″12-18″
Calla LilyPt Shade3″12-18″12-18″
CannaSun/Pt Sun2″15-20″3-8′
CrocosmiaSun/Pt Shade3-5″12-18″24-26″
CrocusSun/Pt Shade3-5″2-3″6-8″
Crown ImperialSun/Pt Shade6-8″8-12″2-3′
Cyclamen, HardyLight Shade1-2″6-8″6-10″
DaffodilSun/Pt Shade5″4-6″1-2′
Daffodil, MiniSun/Pt Shade2″2-6″8-12″
Dutch IrisSun6″6″1-2′
Elephant EarsSun/Pt Shade6″3-5′5-6′
FreesiasSun to Lt Shade2″3-6″8-16″
GladiolusSun/Light Shade4-6″4-5″2-4′
Gladiolus, HardySun4″4-6″1-2′
Gladiolus, OrchidSun3″4-6″3-4′
IxiaSun/Pt Shade4-5″3-4″16-18″
Liatris, Blazing StarsSun/Pt Shade2-4″12-15″18-24″
LilySun/Pt Shade3-5″6-12″varies
Lily, TrumpetSun/Pt Shade4-6″1-2′4-5′
Mexican Shell FlowerSun3″12″2′
Narcissus, LargeSun/Pt Shade5″4-6″1-2′
OxalisSun/Pt Shade2″4-6″3-6″
Peacock Orchid/ExoticaSun2″12″3′
RanunculusSun/Pt Shade2″6-8″12-16″
Shamrock, FloweringSun/Shade1-2″3-4″10-12″
SnowdropsPt Shade2-3″2-4″10″
TulipSun/Pt Shade4-6″6″8-30″
WindflowerPt Shade2″12″6-12″

Spring Bulb Planting Tips

Mix peat moss or compost with your soil to improve drainage and keep your summer blooming bulbs from rotting. Adding bone meal will help boost root development. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the rate of 1 lb. per 100 square feet monthly after planting and until foliage yellows. This will help replenish nutrients in the bulb for next year’s flowers.

Exotic Looking Asiatic Lilies Will Garner Compliments

The bulbs require only a minimum of care during summer blooming periods. Like all garden plants, they appreciate a weed-free growing area and watering when nature does not supply enough rain to keep the soil moist.

However, moist soil doesn’t mean wet soil … do not let water stand around your bulbs. It generally is not necessary to apply fertilizer while your summer bulbs are growing and blooming. Sometimes you can increase blooming by adding dehydrated manure or another plant fertilizer. Be careful not to let any fertilizer touch the foliage.

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Winter Care for Spring Planted Bulbs

With the exception of lilies, spring planted bulbs are tender and must be dug up and stored in cold climates. After the first frost, dig, clean, dry and store for the winter in damp peat moss and sand or vermiculite. Store them at 50º and DO NOT ALLOW TO FREEZE. A good place to store them is in the garage.


Plant bulbs and tubers in the spring for rewarding summer blooming flowers! Spring-planted bulbs produce some of the most dramatic garden color with minimal effort.

The most interesting garden beds combine annuals, perennials, and bulbs blooming at different times. Add bulbs and tubers for variety and an eye-catching display of flowers.

Have you planted summer blooming bulbs for Zone 5 and 6? If so, what are some of your favorite varieties? Reach out via our Contact page – we love hearing from our readers!

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