Time to Plant Summer-blooming Bulbs

Spring is the time to plant summer-blooming bulbs, such as dahlias, gladiolas, lilies, calladiums, and elephant ears. Bulbs should be stored in a cool, dry place until all danger of frost has passed. Then it’s time to plant.

Experts at the USDA say the best time to plant seasonal flora depends on your planting hardiness zone. Central Texas is in Zone 8, identified by the average coldest extreme temperatures in this area—10 to 20°F.  Experts recommend planting bulbs here in early to mid-spring; i.e., late March to May. 


The best resource for knowing how deep to plant your bulbs is the packaging they came in. 

  • Dig a hole 2-3 times as deep as the bulb is tall.
  • The pointy side of the bulb should face up. The roots should face down. 
  • Give the bulbs a good watering. Continue watering whenever the soil is dry. Keep in mind that over-watering can cause the bulb to rot.

Most bulbs also need rich soil, so mix some compost into your soil for the best results, especially if the soil is heavy clay or has poor drainage. Loamy or slightly sandy soil is ideal.

It is also recommended to add 2-3 inches of mulch on top of the flowerbed to prevent weeds. Bulbs can easily grow up through the mulch and weeds will have a tougher time. Weed barrier fabric is not ideal to use when planting bulbs, because it can prevent moisture from reaching the roots of the developing bulb. If you must use weed barrier fabric, cut cross slits in the fabric at the site of each bulb.


To provide blooms all season long, consider when each flower type is likely to bloom. Some bloom once per season while others—seedum, daylilies, hosta, or bleeding heart—will bloom repeatedly until late fall and, at least, provide consistent, rich foliage. You may also want to mix plantings so flowerbeds provide visual interest all season long.

Scan to code to check Longfield Gardens’ Bloom Time Chart for Spring and Summer Bulbs and help planning your flowerbeds.