Around February, your local nursery or garden center will set out their displays
of summer bulbs. These should be planted after danger of first frost is over in your
zone. The following is a brief list of the most popular summer bulbs which will be
available either on-line or at your neighborhood nursery. If shopping in person, be
sure the bulbs you choose are firm, not mushy.
Simple Tips for Summer Bulbs
Basic information about those lesser-known summer bulbs and why we love them
in the summer garden.
Iris, Tulips, Daffodils...just about everybody is familiar with these spring bulbs
which are planted in fall to glorify early spring gardens. But there is a second
category of bulbs which beginning gardeners may be less familiar with. These are
the 'summer bulbs' which are planted in spring for summer bloom. These fabulous
bulbs add brilliant color and interest to the garden, and we'd like to help you
get acquainted with them.
A fabulous little bulb which creates a big flower or cluster of flowers. Related to
the gladiolus, Acidantheras blooms are white with a maroon center. Plant the bulbs
3"-4" deep in a sunny spot. They look very good when planted in clusters. They may
require some staking, as they are tall. Because these bulbs have yet to become
'givens' in the garden, they are sure to provide a touch of surprise in your border.
Simple and wonderful!
Turn your shade garden into a tropical paradise with these vibrantly colored bulbs.
Rosette shaped blooms are large above deep green, thick foliage. Terrific for containers
and hanging baskets. Plant the tubers only 1" deep. Do not plant in full, direct
sunlight, or they will burn, and avoid getting the leaves wet. Some folks take to
planting Tuberous Begonia bulbs like ducks to water and can't seem to get enough of
them. Try a few this spring to see if you love these bulbs as other gardeners do.
Unlike most bulbs, caladiums are planted for their foliage, not for flowers. Abundant,
variegated, arrow-shaped leaves in numerous patterns of green, pink and white. Plant
the tubers about 1" deep with the knob-like side facing up in the shade. Even a dark
place in the garden becomes wonderfully bright when the foliage of the caladiums fills up
the spaces. They can also handle dappled sunlight but avoid planting in full sun or the
leaves will burn.
Tall, striking and unforgettable, Canna lilies offer both brilliant blooms and unusual
foliage. Leaves come in shades of burgundy, copper and green and flowers are hot shades
of salmon, orange, apricot, yellow, red and white. Plant the rhizomes horizonally, some
3"-4" deep in full sun. Cannas require very nutritious soil and are prized at the back
of the border because of their height.
Dahlias are truly stars in the garden. Heights of these plants vary from a couple of feet
up to some 5-6 feet tall. Flower form is equally varied. Giant puffs, rayed stars...you
name it. Pastel and primary colors in so many hues for you to enjoy. Dahlias mix wonderfully
with other plants in the perennial border. Plant the bulbs so that the budding end (the crown)
is just above the level of the soil. Dahlias like sun or partial sun and each bulb will
produce many, many flowers.
Gladiolus provide slender, brilliant spikes of color in the garden - and they come in
literally EVERY color of the rainbow (including green). Because of their height, gladiolus
require staking, though some recent dwarf varieties are sturdier. Plant Gladiolus corms
about 4"-6" deep in full or partial sun. Because of the color palette, we like to use
clusters of gladiolus bulbs to complement or accent the colors of other flowers in the
border. Yellow gladiolus with purple solanum vine, apricot glads beside raspberry daylillies,
red glads by white roses...let your imagination go wild with these super summer flower
There are many more wondeful summer bulbs, but these will give you a great start. Whether
you are looking for a burst of color, lofty height or pretty foliage, you are sure to
find a summer bulb that works just right in that special spot in the garden. At Bulb & Bloom,
bulb planting time is one of the happiest times for us. It's nice to know that we can
enjoy the fun of this in both fall and spring!