Summer Blooming Bulbs

 In Bulbous plants, Bulbs, Corms, rhizomes,etc, Seasonal Gardening, Summer colour, tubers

Now that bulbs are popping up everywhere in the garden I’m reminded that it’s time to get planting summer blooming bulbs!

Daffodils, crocus and snowdrops will soon be followed by the richest of all bulbs the tulip!

Ginger plant, Orange flower

Hedychium Tara [flowering ginger]

Then spring will well and truly be here.

But spare a thought now for late summer blooming bulbs!

Gaps appear in borders when the earliest flowering perennials are over.

This is where lilies, dahlias and others have an important role to play.

But these dramatic summer flowering bulbs are not just gap fillers. They deserve a place in our garden anyway!






Lovely Lilies

pink lily flower in a pot

A pot filled with Asian lilies

Lilies look fantastic in pots.

Many will fill your garden with rich and exotic scent too!

They need a pot filled with rich potting compost. The pots also should be deep.

I find that terracotta pots made by the Yorkshire Flowerpot Company are perfect for this!

You will need just 3 or 4 bulbs per pot.

It is best to plant them deep [1/3rd from the bottom].

Water your pots well and then stand them outside. That’s all there is to it!

Just wait for the action to begin!



Delightful Dahlias

Dahlia flowers, Summer blooming bulbs

Dark foliage and single bee friendly blooms

Dahlias are back in vogue!

Newer varieties with single blooms, dark foliage and are compact bushy habit are especially popular.

With these attributes it’s no surprise they are now so popular.

These grow well in pots.

If your pots are big then there are masses of plants to mix with them. This will create a breath taking and long lasting patio display!

But it’s not just the single bloom varieties that are popular because the re are just so many great varieties if dahlias to grow!

Dahlia tubers can be planted out now.

But beware that if the shoots emerge too soon they will need some protection if there is a frost. And those soft new shoots will need protection from slug attack!

Dahlias make spectacular cut flowers!

I’ve written much more on dahlias here.

And even more here!



Canna, ginger, Agapanthus, etc

Summer Blooming Bulbs, Canna, flowers

Canna Brighton Orange

Ginger lily, Agapanthus and Canna roots should be started off into growth right away!

This is best done by potting them up on a bright warm windowsill. If you have a conservatory or greenhouse that’s an even better place to get them started!

Once growing these should be planted outside when the risk of late frost is over. That’s generally towards the end of May in most of the UK.






Gap filling summer blooming bulbs

Nile lily, Agapanthus, blue flower

Agapanthus Navy Blue with lily

Sometimes gaps appear in our flower border displays mid summer. Summer blooming bulbs in pots are the perfect answer to this.

Lilies, dahlias, Canna and Agapanthus potted into plastic pots when grown on can be slotted into those gaps!

Some early blooming perennial plants fade after flowering early in summer.

Peony, oriental poppies, sunspurge, hellebores, and others fade and leave a gaping hole!

It’s not cheating to slot these half grown summer blooming bulbs in that gap. That’s called good forward planning!

This is something many gardens that open to the public do.





purple gladioli flower

Large flowered gladioli bloom

Gladioli are not strictly bulbs. They are actually corms.

These are not the obvious choice for growing in pots. They tend to grow too tall.

But gladioli are good for a traditional splash of colour in the middle of a border.

They are even better for the cutting garden and actually fit in well with growing vegetables.

They do need plenty of water and feed to produce the best stems.  Otherwise they are a very easy cut flower to grow.

Do avoid damp and poorly drained soils. In fact it’s worth putting a handful of sharp sand underneath every corm. Then you are certain that drainage is good!






Hanging basket of flowers, begonia

Begonia Starshine Trailing Yellow

Begonias come in many forms; indoor houseplants, border bedding plants and of course as superb hanging basket and container plants!

Corms [yes these aren’t ‘bulbs’ either] should be started into growth right now.

Lie them on top of a seed tray that’s filled with good quality potting compost.

Make certain that the round side of the corm is down but the concave part is uppermost.

Put them on a bright warm windowsill or in a heated greenhouse. Apply a little water.

When each corm has its own root system and buds are growing transplant them individually into compost filled pots to grow on. Move up to larger sized pots as they develop.

It’s safe to plant begonias into troughs and containers when the risk of frost is past.

The trialing  begonias look great in hanging baskets!

All will flower all summer long!

Begonias have outperformed most other summer bedding plants in recent years. I’ve found they can be relied upon to perform no matter what type of summer we get!

Some begonias cannot be bought as corms but these are available as plug or starter plants to grow on with some heat. I’ve written about plug and starter plants here.



More summer blooming bulbs


Dahlia flower. Summer blooming bulbs

Dahlia Creme de Cassis

There are lots of other exciting summer flowering bulbs available to start off into growth right now.

All will provide drama, colour and many will fill your garden with rich intoxicating scent.

What more could you want?

I’ve found that feeding is really important to get the best results.

If you’re growing your summer blooming bulbs in containers or hanging baskets do feed them regularly.

I’ve a few tips on this here.





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