Summer-blooming flower bulbs are reliable, high-performing plants that put on an extravagant show of colorful flowers and decorative foliage. As summer turns to fall and other plants begin to fade, summer bulbs hit their stride, delivering a wave of floral beauty that's impossible to miss.
THE MORE SUN, THE BETTER
Most summer-blooming bulbs need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. That’s the minimum, and getting full sun from dawn to dusk is even better. Sunlight and warmth help these heat loving plants grow faster and flower more abundantly. Here are some of the top performers:
WHERE TO PLANT SUN LOVING SUMMER-BLOOMING BULBS
Sunny Perennial Gardens
Most perennial gardens are in their prime during the first half of the summer. Since summer-blooming bulbs flower in the second half, they are ideal for filling late summer gaps. In all but the warmest climates, these bulbs perform best when they get a head start. Simply plant them in pots indoors about a month before your last frost date. Some of the best summer-blooming bulbs for perennial gardens include: Dahlias, Asiatic Lilies, Oriental Lilies, Oriental-Trumpet Lilies, Species Lilies, Glamini Gladiolus, Acidanthera, Eremuris, Crocosmia and Liatris.
Sunny Borders, Walkways and Entryways
Summer-blooming bulbs mix well with all sorts of sun-loving annuals such as Cosmos, Petunias, Lantana, Cleome, Verbena, Zinnias and Amaranth. Summer bulbs come in a rainbow of amazing colors, and with some of them growing to a height of 6 feet or more, they always create a big impact. Some of the best summer-blooming bulbs for borders, walkways and entryways include: Dahlias, Glamini Glads, Lilies, Cannas, Sun-Loving Caladiums and Elephant Ears.
Sunny Cutting Gardens
Summer-blooming bulbs produce some of the best flowers for bouquets. Their big blooms make a dramatic statement in a vase, and the incredible colors are endlessly inspiring. Summer bulbs are also a great value. They’re inexpensive, yet produce a huge number of flowers over a long season. Florist favorites include Lilies, Dahlias, Gladiolus, Calla Lilies, Brodiaea and Acidanthera.
Sunny Pots and Planters
Summer-blooming bulbs grow well in containers because they appreciate the extra warmth and daily watering. Whether you combine them with annuals or put them in a pot on their own, they’ll bring the growing season to a colorful crescendo. These summer-blooming bulbs all grow well in containers: Elephant Ears, Calla Lilies, Border Dahlias, Brodiaea, Glamini Glads, Canna Lilies, Eucomis, Sun-Tolerant Caladiums, Nerine and Tigridia.
Sunny Yards and Landscapes
Just as spring-blooming bulbs can bring early color to foundation plantings, shrub borders and other landscaped areas, summer-blooming bulbs can introduce their own late summer excitement. Some dazzle the eye with their colorful flowers while others have lush, tropical foliage. Good summer bulbs for landscaping include: Cannas, Elephant Ears, Sun-Tolerant Caladiums and Lilies.
Tip: At the beginning of the growing season, fill some extra nursery pots with summer-blooming bulbs such as lilies, decorative dahlias and acidanthera. Grow them in a sunny spot that’s out of the way. In late summer, use these plants to fill gaps in the garden or arrange them near your entryway for a burst of color.