Upgrade Tired Flowerbeds with Showstopping Summer Bulbs

Spring is knocking on the door, and it’s time to get planning. This year, consider summer-flowering bulbs with show-stopping blooms, decadent fragrance, and fun texture to spice up your garden. Even with summer a few months away, now’s the time to revel in the possibilities with these five bulbs.


Though most Gladiolus species are native to arid countries, glads feel as American as apple pie. Modern gladiolas have come a long way over the years, encouraging gardeners all over the U.S. to tuck them into their landscape each spring.

Adaptable to most soil with good drainage, gladiolas are a popular garden and cut flower with trumpet-shaped flowers available in every color imaginable. Their name comes from the Latin word for sword, an accurate description of their stiff, upright foliage and flower stalks, plus their “sword-like” foliage fends off deer and other backyard grazers. Reliably hardy to zones 7 and growing up to 4’ tall, it’s no wonder the National Garden Bureau is calling this the year of the gladiolas.


Gardens should ignite the senses, and many lilies varieties do that with their show-stopping flower displays and aromatic perfume that allures not only humans but pollinators as well. If their fragrance is not your preference, look for light or unscented varieties.

Available in various flower colors and sizes, their sturdy stems make them exceptional landscape and cut flowers that require little care once established. With varieties ranging from 1’-5’ tall and bold blooms in pinks, reds, whites, orange, and yellows, lilies are the perfect, aromatic addition to the landscape.


Sometimes overlooked, Crocosmia, also called Montbretia, is a summer-flowering bulb you don’t want to skip. Originating from South Africa, these elegant plants have a tropical look with long, arching stems that produce a waterfall of color that attracts hummingbirds.

As hardy perennials in zones 5-9, they perform best in well-drained soil in groups in borders or around evergreen, structure plants like boxwood. Their flowers range in color from scarlet red to golden yellow on stalks about 1’-4’ tall. Smaller varieties will thrive in containers.


Looking to add Pantone’s color of the year, Veri Peri, to your garden? Liatris is a long-blooming flowering bulb with stalks of small, fluffy star-shaped flowers arranged in a bottle-brush spire. Stalks of purple flowers add texture to the landscape and attract many different pollinators.

Hardy in zones 3-9, they do best in well-draining soil and full sun exposure. As prairie plants in their native habitat, they require little care once established and can be enjoyed as perennials.


Native to Mexico, dahlias include a large family of diverse flowers that range in size, texture, and color. Famous for their dinner-plate size, “Instagram-worthy,” show-stopping flowers that dazzle in the garden and floral arrangements. Varieties vary in color and texture with both single and double-flowering blooms; most bloom early summer to fall, and range from 1’-6’ tall. This year, European bulb growers recognized single-flowered dahlias as the bulb of the year. These happy flowers are pollinator magnets, and their open structure makes pollen and nectar easily accessed from summer until frost.

Whether looking for something to brighten up the garden for the season or year after year, consider summer-flowering bulbs! With endless choices of colors, shapes, textures, and sizes, they are guaranteed to make the garden your happy place.

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