• Plant Care

Ten Flowers to Plant in Spring for Summer Colour

  • By Ray Brosnan
If you want a lovely display of blooms in July and August, spring is the perfect time to plant summer flowers.

In spring, our gardens begin to wake up and show signs of life again. Early spring flowers, such as snowdrops, tulips and daffodils, start to make an appearance, brightening outdoor spaces with some much-needed colour. Flowers that bloom in spring were planted in the previous autumn - you have to plan with gardening. So, for a good display of blooms in July and August, spring is the time to plant summer flowers. What are the top 10 flowers to plant in March and April?

1. Marigolds, (Calendula officinalis)

Marigolds are cheap, cheerful and very easy to grow from seed. They brighten up a flower bed and are useful additions to a veggie patch thanks to their bug-repelling qualities. Plant the seeds straight outdoors in late spring after all threats of frost are gone and they will bloom within 6 to 8 weeks. Deadhead regularly and you'll have a continuous display of yellow and orange blooms until mid-summer.

Scotch marigolds

2. Sweet Peas, (Lathyrus odoratus)

Sweet peas ooze English country garden style. These delicate climbing plants produce pastel-coloured flowers and a beautiful aroma. Grow from seed by planting in early spring indoors and transplant outside when there's no more frost. They need full sun and a fence or wall to climb up. Sweet peas make lovely cut flowers too.

3. Dahlias

For impressive blooms in a range of vivid colours, dahlias are a perfect choice. There is a wide variety to pick from so it's easy to find one to fall in love with. They are moderately easy to grow and produce flowers from summer to autumn. Dahlias won't tolerate frost and like a sunny, protected spot. If grown from seed, start them off indoors.

4. Pansies, (Viola)

With markings that look like little faces, pansies are a joy. They flourish in pots and beds and are so easy to grow that they are ideal for newbie gardeners. Pansies will even tolerate a light frost or two. Seeds need to be planted indoors in late winter or choose bedding plants from the garden centre in late spring.

pansy flowers

5. Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are hardy shrubs that have sumptuous flower heads in pinks, blues and whites. The Mophead variety is the most common one grown thanks to its huge ball-sized flowers. Hydrangeas prefer dappled shade and moist soil. Buy plants in spring and soak them well before popping them in the ground. With a light prune after they've stopped flowering, your hydrangea will produce new flowers every year.

6. Sunflowers, (Helianthus)

Sunflowers have got to be one of the easiest plants to grow from seed. Start them off in a pot inside in spring, then plant them outside in early summer. Sunflowers like 8 hours of sun or more so choose the location carefully and don't forget to keep them watered. They are satisfying to grow as they shoot up so fast. Depending on the variety, sunflowers grow to be 50cm to 200cm tall.

7. Daylilies, (Hemerocallis)

Daylilies produce a striking flower display throughout the summer. These hardy plants can tolerate some drought and are happy with their roots in most soil types. Daylilies are suitable for borders and containers, and their fragrance is pleasant.

red daylilies

8. Polianthes, Polianthes tuberosa

For a sprinkling of white flowers, plant Polianthes in the spring. These are tubers that don't do well in frost so wait until the ground has warmed up. They can be started inside on a window sill, and transplanted into soil that easily drains. By mid-summer, you'll have tall green plants with an abundance of fragrant blooms.

9. Bleeding Hearts, (Lamprocapnos spectabilis)

These pretty plants like a part-shady place in the garden. Put them in the ground in early spring with a soil improver and you'll have dainty little heart-shaped flowers until late summer. When they've finished flowering, leave them where they are and they'll bounce back next spring.

bleeding heart plant

10. Gladioli, (Gladiolus)

Gladioli have long, spike-shaped leaves and exotic looking blooms. They start as 'corms' (onion-looking bulbs) and go directly into the soil in full sun. They need plenty of water during their growing season and some tomato feed when they flower. Gladioli make excellent cut flowers.

Make a list and get planting

You might not want all 10 of these plants, so pick a few of your favourites and make a list of what you need. Summer will be here before you know it so gets going soon - you'll reap the rewards in a month or two. Get your hands dirty and enjoy the feeling of soil between your fingers. It's the perfect way to say goodbye to winter and hello to beautiful spring.

Ray Brosnan is the co-owner of Brosnan Property Solutions, a property maintenance and facility management company based in Ireland. Brosnan Property Solutions help homeowners with their landscaping needs during spring and summer time.