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Bring successive waves of color to your garden by planting bulbs that bloom in summer and fall. These bulbs are some of the most beautiful and easiest plants to grow, perfect for garden beds and containers.

Adding them this spring will give your garden a burst of vibrant, seasonal color that lasts for months.

Here are 15 bulbs that promise a garden full of color with stunning summer and fall blooms, ensuring your garden stays lively and bright all season long.

Dahlia

dahlia
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Dahlias are loved for their vibrant, showy blooms. They come in a wide array of colors and sizes and are a favorite among pollinators. Whether used in flower beds, borders, or containers, dahlias add a burst of color and charm to any outdoor space.

Blooming from mid-summer until the first frost, these perennials thrive in well-drained soil and full sun. They are suitable for USDA hardiness zones 8-11.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus
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These summer-flowering bulbs are a favorite for adding vertical interest to garden beds. Plant them in spring for a spectacular display of blooms from mid-summer to fall.

Gladiolus are low-maintenance; they thrive in USDA hardiness zones 7-10 and need regular watering and fertilization for healthy growth. Gladiolus attracts pollinators like bees and hummingbirds.

Lilies

orange day lilies
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Lilies are a staple of summer gardens, known for their stunning beauty and intoxicating fragrance. These beauties attract all sorts of pollinators, from butterflies to bees.

Lilies, with their elegant blooms, come in many varieties, from delicate Asiatic lilies to Oriental hybrids. They thrive in USDA hardiness zones 4-9, preferring well-drained soil and partial to full sun. Adequate moisture and regular fertilization are needed when growing lilies.

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Begonia

Red colored begonias (Begonia tuberhybrida) in garden
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Begonias are beloved for their lush foliage and vibrant blooms in many colors and shapes, ranging from upright bedding begonias to cascading tuberous begonias. Thriving in USDA hardiness zones 9-11, they prefer partial shade and well-drained soil, making them perfect for summer blooms.

Begonias may attract pests like slugs, snails, and aphids. Soft pest control measures, such as handpicking or organic repellents, can help mitigate these issues without damaging the blooms.

Canna

Beautiful Canna Lily flower in the park
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These heat-loving plants come in fiery reds, sunny yellows, and rich oranges. Cannas thrive in USDA hardiness zones 7-10, preferring full sun and moist, well-drained soil.

While cannas attract pollinators, they may be susceptible to pests like caterpillars and spider mites, so it’s important to monitor them constantly for signs of infestation to preserve their health. Opt for organic solutions to prevent harm to the flowers.

Iris

iris
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Irises are known for their beauty and relatively short lifespan. Varieties include bearded irises with distinctive “beards,” Siberian irises known for their elegant blooms, and Japanese irises prized for their intricate patterns. Irises thrive in USDA hardiness zones 3-9.

While they prefer full sun, they can tolerate partial shade. Planting irises in late summer to early fall ensures a stunning display of spring and early summer blooms.

Allium

alliums
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Their globe-shaped flowers come in various sizes and colors, ranging from the giant Allium ‘Globemaster’ to the delicate Allium ‘Moly.’ Alliums thrive in full sun, require well-drained soil, and are well-suited to USDA hardiness zones 4-8.

Planting alliums in fall ensures a striking display of blooms in late spring and early summer, guaranteed to attract attention from pollinators.

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Calla Lily

calla lilly
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Calla lilies, with their elegant trumpet-shaped blooms, add a touch of sophistication to any garden. These stunning bulbs prefer partial shade or indirect sunlight and thrive in USDA hardiness zones 8-10. Calla lilies are planted in early spring to ensure blooms from late spring to early summer.

Freesia

freesia
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Freesias are fragrant flowers usually preferred for bouquets and arrangements. These bulbs thrive in USDA hardiness zones 9-11 and prefer full sun to partial shade. They require moisture, nutrient-rich, and well-drained soil to thrive in any garden. Planting freesias in fall ensures blooms in spring and early summer, with a long lifespan.

Agapanthus

agapanthus
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Agapanthus, also known as the Blue Lily of the Nile, produces large clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of blue, purple, or white.

These perennial bulbs must be planted in early spring to bloom in late summer. They do well in USDA hardiness zones 7-11. There are many varieties of Agapanthus, but the most popular ones are ‘Peter Pan,’ ‘Midnight Blue,’ and ‘Twister.’

Liatris

Blazing star Liatris spicata flowers in the summer garden
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Liatris, also known as blazing star or gayfeather, is native to North America. It is characterized by tall spikes of densely packed purple or pinkish-purple florets that bloom from top to bottom in summer and early fall.

Because of its shape, Liatris attracts pollinators and adds vertical interest to gardens. Liatris thrives in USDA hardiness zones 3-9, preferring full sun and well-drained soil.

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Autumn Crocus 

Autumn Crocus in the Garden. It is a toxic plant.
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Autumn crocus, colchicum, or meadow saffron is a captivating bulb flower that blooms in late summer or early fall. The flower is delicate, goblet-shaped in purple, pink, or white shades.

This unique plant emerges directly from the soil without any foliage, earning it the nickname “naked lady.” While admired for its ethereal beauty, autumn crocus is important to handle carefully, as all parts of the plant are highly toxic if ingested. 

Chrysanthemums

Orange hardy chrysanthemum plants as a pattern. Abstract flower background texture
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Chrysanthemums, often called “mums,” are popular fall-blooming flowers cherished for their vibrant colors and diverse shapes and sizes.

These perennial plants thrive in USDA hardiness zones 5-9, prefer well-drained soil and full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. Mums are known for their resilience and ability to withstand cooler temperatures, making them ideal for adding color to autumn gardens. 

Asters

Purple flowers of Italian Asters, Michaelmas Daisy Aster Amellus , known as Italian Starwort, Fall Aster, violet blossom growing in garden, Italy. Soft focus
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These daisy-like flowers are beloved for their sizable number of late summer and fall blooms, adding a burst of color to gardens. These hardy perennials are adaptable, thriving in various soil types and moisture levels and USDA hardiness zones 3-9.

They prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade and attract pollinators like butterflies and bees, contributing to garden biodiversity.

Nerine

Guernsey lily (nerine bowdenii)
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Nerine is a genus of flowering plants in the Amaryllidaceae family native to South Africa. These striking bulbous plants produce clusters of funnel-shaped flowers in shades of pink, red, or white. They typically bloom in late summer to early fall, preferring well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Because of their delicate beauty, the blooms are often used in floral arrangements.

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Tall red flowers of Monard bee balm in the summer garden
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cinnamon on houseplant
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A Close up view of a white round plate with bananna peals piled into it on the green grass
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