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Three Easy Steps to Plant Summer Flowering Bulbs


If you’re like me, your first experience with bulbs most likely centered on spring bloomers such as daffodils and tulips, which are planted in fall. But there are many bulbs that are planted in spring. This group of exotic and tropical summer bloomers can be planted right now and all through April in most of the country; planting times for colder regions of the North are typically from April to June, depending on the bulb.


Cannas are a personal favorite for their showy, tropical-like flowers and vibrantly-colored or variegated banana-like leaves. Dahlias offer numerous flower types from dazzling daisies, to showy pom poms, to show-stopping colorful blooms. Other note-worthy spring-planted bulbs include gladiolus, windflower (Anemone coronaria), pineapple lily (Eucomis), freesia, summer hyacinth (Galtonia), begonia, red hot poker (Kniphofia), Asiatic and Oriental lilies (Lilium), and Aztec lily (Sprekelia).

 Planting Bulbs – Easy as 1-2-3:

planting bulbs

  1. Start with bulbs that are plump, firm and feel heavy for their size. Prep the soil by working a complete fertilizer into the entire bed or bottom of planting holes. (I also mix in rock dust or bone meal).
  2. Arrange the bulbs in groups or random clusters, then plant them at the depth recommended on the package with the pointed side or sprouting side facing up.
  3. Cover the bulbs with soil mixed with compost and keep the soil moist to slightly moist from planting until the foliage of the mature plant dies back.


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Kmart Garden Tool(s)

° alterra™ Transplanting Shovel


kris wetherbee



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  1. So sorry for the late reply as I just saw your question. There are plenty of natural substitutes for fertilizing flowers. Compost and aged manure are easy and ideal, and you can pick up a bag of steer manure at your local K-Mart store. They may also carry liquid fish fertilizer, or a liquid seaweed based spray also works wonders for flowers. Another great tip to increase blooms is to sprinkle bone meal or rock dust into the soil or at least scratch it into the soil surface. Both are high in phosphorus, which is the go-to nutrient for flower production. Keep in mind that the general purpose flower food that you did find may or may not use natural ingredients so it's always best to check the label. May your blooms be plentiful!

    1. In response to Kris_Wetherbee

      Thank you tons, Kris !
      I will check out the various options that Kmart offers ^^,!

  2. So cool ! And good luck on your Wednesday blog !
    I have a feeding question : A visitor saw my transplanted Gerbera Daisies and said that I will have to fertilize later due to the craving of the sort. The recommendation was to use Miracle Grow when I watered it, but I wondered if there was a natural substitute that may be used instead ? The plants are doing fine now, and I am seeking the challenge of not employing a commercial product for this... Thanks for any info {^^,!

    1. In response to yobarps

      Nevermind - I found a liquid, general-purpose flower food instead... (Also I realized the bad posture that my question might have created for Kris or any other employee - sorry :)

  3. So much information, Kris! I had NO idea there were so many spring bulbs out there. We normally just go with the dafodils and tulips in the fall. I am always wanting heartier looking flowers throughout the summer, though, and most you have mentioned fit the bill.

    Thanks for the great blog!

  4. Hi Kris,

    I have to say that I am learning so much from you for I definitely do not have a green thumb.

    But I do have a question on this topic for my daughter has received some "lily stargazer" bulbs. Would these fall into this category of planting during April-June?

    My daughter has held on to these for a few months now and we would like to get them planted, but just not sure when. We have looked all over the bag and it does not give a timeline of when to plant.

    Any information would be great!

    Thank you;)

    1. In response to JustWendy

      Your daughter is going to be so thrilled with her lily stargazers! This Oriental hybrid was developed in Oregon and emits such a beautiful fragrance. And the added bonus is that the flowers are a nectar source for butterflies and hummingbirds. Yes, these do fall into the category of planting during April to June, though it's probably best to plant sooner rather than later. Choose an area in full sun, with well-drained, evenly moist soil. "Well-drained" is the key here as wet soil can end the life of the bulb. Space bulbs about 12 inches apart in a random pattern which is always more aesthetically appealing than straight lines. Be forewarned that slugs love lilies, so if slugs are an issue in your daughter's garden she should also set out slug traps or introduce decollate snails (Rumina decollata)--a natural predator of the garden slugs and snails. You can buy them online and often at garden centers or nurseries.

    2. In response to JustWendy

      Hi Kris,

      Thank you for the quick response. I do however have another issue in regards to planting these bulbs.

      Unfortunately we live in an apartment so I am hoping that we can plant these in a pot. Will this lessen their chances of survival?

      We have a great back porch with direct sunlight (when we get it) so we are hoping that this can still work out for getting these planted.

      She is so excited to get these planted for we had seen a few hummingbirds flying around last summer around the bushes on the other side of us.

      We would appreciate any thoughts that you can give us.

      Thank you ;)

    3. In response to JustWendy

      A sunny back porch is an ideal place to grow stargazers in containers. The main difference between planting in the ground versus planting in the container is the soil. For containers, you want to use a lightweight commercial potting mix, to which I typically add 1 part compost to one part perlite to 3 parts potting mix. Space the bulbs 3 to 4 inches apart in a large container and water as needed so the soil stays evenly moist. That might mean a once a day watering during the hotter summer months. A simple finger test can tell you when it's time to water. Stick your finger about 1 inch into the potting mix (for a larger size pot or container) and if it's moderately dry, then it's time to water. As an added bonus, slugs are much less likely to be a problem for lilies grown in containers. Happy gardening!

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