Spring bursts forth after a long winter with colorful and fragrant blooms. Early in the spring season crocus, snowdrops, early tulips, and daffodils all emerge. Mid-spring is a parade of blooms with so many overlapping flowers on display. Before the long days of summer blooms arrive is the sometimes neglected late spring garden.
Early and mid-spring blooms from fall-planted bulbs and perennials are abundant with choices. Late spring flowers provide many options as well, but can often be overlooked when planning your garden. If you have ever found that by late spring you have minimal blooms to adore you probably need to add some flower bulbs this fall that bloom in late spring to your garden.
Best Flowers that Bloom in Late Spring
Late Blooming Tulips
Differences in spring temperatures will affect the exact time your tulips will bloom each season. However, tulips that are classified as late spring blooming are the last to bloom. They are the beginning of the late spring bloom parade.
In hardiness zone 5 late spring blooming tulips bloom as early as Mother’s Day and as late as Memorial Day. While they typically won’t be blooming in sync with popular late spring blooming allium or bearded iris. There is a good chance they will be blooming with late spring perennials such as Bleeding Hearts.
Late Spring Blooming Tulip Varieties
The best tulips for late blooms are Parrot Tulips, Lily Flowering Tulips, Single Late Tulips, Double Late Tulips, and Fringed Tulips. Most of these late-blooming tulip varieties have tall stems and showy blooms.
Lily Flowering Tulips have elegant blooms with pointed petals. Often blooming in bright colors these tall tulips can reach heights up to 24″ the bright colors and tall stature makes them the perfect accent flower for the late spring garden. Plant among low ground cover bulbs and perennials for a complete look.
Single late tulips have some of the most popular tulip cultivars like Queen of Night Single Late Tulip and Menton Single Late Tulip. They are known for being reliable perennials with strong and sturdy stems.
Double Late Tulips have double the petals than a traditional tulip. They are often called Peony Flowering Tulips since their blooms look like peonies. Adding both peonies and Double Late Tulips to your garden will ensure you have extravagant blooms for weeks in late spring.
Some of the fanciest tulip blooms appear on Fringed Tulips. The petals have frayed and fringed edges that add a unique texture to the late spring gardens and fresh-cut flower bouquets.
Displaying vibrant and eye-catching blooms in late spring, peony flowers are a sign that late spring has arrived. Peonies are classic garden perennials that bring feelings of nostalgia, and joy. Blooms of peonies can be single petaled, or double petaled. Both types have a place in the sunny garden border.
Peonies grow 24-36” tall and wide. Therefore, it is a good idea to place them in the garden where they have room to grow. Using peonies in a mixed perennial border or near the foundation of the house typically allows for adequate space.
Planting peonies in fall will offer a great selection of herbaceous and Itoh hybrid peonies. Itoh hybrid peonies tend to bloom a bit longer than herbaceous peonies and have stronger stems. Herbaceous peonies are classic peonies with large, fragrant blooms. Both types of peonies will bloom in late spring, typically after the tulips are finished blooming.
Loved for their vibrant papery blooms, Oriental Poppies put on quite a display in late spring. When full grown oriental poppies have a mound-like habit, making them easy to tuck in here and there in the garden. Oriental Poppies grow best in hardiness zones 3-8 and require soil that drains well.
Turkenlouis Oriental Poppy is one of the most vibrant cultivars, with bright red/orange blooms. For pastel tones that match shades of the spring garden plant Mrs. Perry Oriental Poppy. To create a moon garden effect Perry’s White Oriental Poppy will glow in the late spring garden at night.
Poppies go dormant after blooming; therefore you will want to plant summer-blooming flowers in front of them to fill the empty space they may leave in the garden.
Blooming with some of the most unique flowers that bloom in late spring are alliums. Also known as ornamental onion, allium comes in a range of colors, sizes, and shapes. Allium are easy to grow but do require soil that drains well, for more tips on allium bulbs, check out our complete guide to growing allium.
The most known allium is the large globe-shaped blooms of varieties like Allium giganteum, Purple Sensation Allium, and Mount Everest Allium. These unique blooms often have people asking “What are those large purple ball-shaped blooms?”
For gardeners that don’t have the vertical space for tall allium, they can plant shorter varieties like Drumstick Allium and Azure Allium. Both of these varieties have unique blooms, that are excellent for cut flowers. To be sure you get a mix of colors and shapes of allium flowers in the late spring garden try planting a mix, like the Bubble Blend Allium Mix.
At the end of spring, you will find an absolute parade of color when the bearded iris begins to bloom. Bearded Iris grow in most hardiness zones, and are available in nearly every color of the rainbow, even true blue! When it comes to flowers that bloom in late spring, as long as you have sunshine adding some bearded iris to your garden is a great way to transition into summer.
Bearded Iris are best planted in late summer to early fall. Planting during that timeframe ensures the dormant rhizomes have plenty of time to establish roots before the ground freezes. When you plant your bearded iris be sure they are planted in a sunny location with soil that drains well.
In the garden plant tall bearded iris in the middle to the back of your garden bed or border. When in full bloom they are often 3′ tall or more. Planting summer flowers in front of your bearded iris will help cover the foliage after the blooms fade from the bearded iris.
Plant Bulbs this Fall for Blooms Late Spring
Planting the bulbs and perennials this fall for blooms in late spring makes for a delightful surprise after a long winter. There are many perennials that also bloom in late spring that can be combined with the flowers above to ensure you have an explosion of color and texture in your late spring garden. By planning now for blooms next year you nearly guarantee that you will have flowers that bloom in the late spring garden in your garden!