Summer Flowering Bulbs
This is my site Written by Geoff on April 1, 2002 – 7:00 pm

As we promised in March’s Yard Talk we will be looking at Summer flowering bulbs this month. In March we discussed Spring flowering bulbs, much of the cultural requirements we discussed then, holds true for Summer flowering bulbs. For our discussion, we are going to group bulbs, corm, rhizome, and tuber together. 

Site selection and preparation is very important. Summer bulbs like good drainage and high organic matter. You can never add too much humus to a bulb growing medium. Try to group bulbs together, or plant in masses and groups, in curves and drifts, or clustered close together. A light mulching helps the bulbs retain moisture and reduces the competitive weeds. 

Some commonly used Summer bulbs are: 

1. Liliaceae Lilium ‘Lily’
Lilies are used in borders, perennial gardens, pots, and containers. Lilies are often used for cut flowers. They like a sunny spot, but will tolerate partial shade. A good online source for lilies is B&D Lilies 

2. Compositae Dahlia ‘Union’
From Summer into Fall this bulb produces two to eight foot plants with flowers up to 14 inches across. They are generally planted directly in the garden in Mid-May in a well-drained sunny location. Plants should be staked at planting time because they will require support for the large flowers. Dahlias must be dug and stored each fall. A good source for dahlias is Old House Gardens in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

3. Iridaceae Gladiolus ‘Sword Lily’ 
The gladiolus is used mainly for cut flowers, although it does have a place in the home garden. Their wide range of colors, sizes and flower types make them particularly useful for flower arrangements. Gladiolus flowers are found on exhibit at flower shows and are a specialty of many amateur growers. Columbia View Gladiolus offer an excellent selection for the home gardener. 

Some lesser known Summer bulbs that we have tried are: 

1. Iridaceae Tigridia ‘Tiger Flower’
This bulbs’ foliage is similar to the daylily, it produces several flowers per stalk and each separate flower blooms for just one day. Like dahlias they bloom from Mid-Summer into Fall in shades of white, cream, yellow, pink, and red. Plant in a sunny location along walks or as borders. Tigridia must be dug and stored each fall. Brent and Becky’s Bulbs offers this unusual bulb. 

2. Amaryllidaceae Sternbergia ‘Autumn Daffodil’
The Autumn Daffodil is a terrific bulb to use in naturalizing. They have bright yellow, crocus-like flowers that pops up out of nowhere. Grow in partial shade for autumn color. These bulbs must be dug and stored each fall. Brent and Becky’s Bulbs also offer this selection. 

3. Liliaceae Eucomis ‘Pineapple Plant’
The flower is a spike of masses of little flowers with a rosette of green leaves on top. Eucomis blooms best in full sun from July through August. It is often used in container gardening. Eucomis must be dug and stored each fall. Brent and Becky’s Bulbs also carry this bulb. 

4. Ranunculaceae Anemone coronaria ‘Windflower’
This blue, red, white, and pink blooming bulb flowers from May to September. It likes a partially shaded location. This bulb must also be dug and stored each fall. Most good online bulb companies such as Brent and Becky’s Bulbs carry this Summer bulb. 

5. Cannaceae Canna
Canna lilies are native plants in the United States. Flowers come in shades of red, pink, yellow, orange and cream. The planting site should be well drained and in full sun. Once frost has killed the canna tops, cut off the dead tops and dig bulbs. They must be stored in a cool dry place. Aaron’s Amaryllis & Canna Bulb Farm Nursery offers some of the best bulbs we have seen. 

Some additional Summer blooming bulbs worth looking at are:

Achimenes Globba Polianthes
Alocasia Gloriosa Sandersonia
Amaryllis Habranthus Sauromatum
Bletilla Hedychium Scadoxus
Bloomeria Hemerocallis Sparaxis
Caladium Hippeastrum Sprekelia
Canna Hymenocallis Triteleia
Chlidanthus Incarvillea Tritonia
Colocasia Ixia Tropaeolum
Commelina Leucocoryne Tulbaghia
Convallaria Liatris Veltheimia
Crinum Lycoris Zantedeschia
Crocosmia Nerine Zephyranthes
Cyrtanthus Oxalis  
Galtonia Pleione  

We did not discuss daylillies, although a beautiful Summer bulb, as this was covered in a Past Yard Talk. We enjoy growing daylilies and other Summer bulbs in our gardens. Summer bulbs add a lot of interest to the landscape. They offer not only bright flowering blooms but unusual shapes and textures. We encourage you to try them, particularly some of the lessor known bulbs.

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Modified: March 8, 2009 at 9:37 am UTC

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