Design Tips for Growing Summer Bulbs in Containers

Creative Combinations with Summer-Blooming Bulbs

When summer temperatures get hot, most annuals and perennials slow their growth and reduce flower production to conserve energy. This is good for the plants, but fewer flowers is not so good if you want a colorful late summer garden.

The best way to keep your flower garden blooming during this slow down, is to grow plants that thrive in heat and humidity. Summer-blooming bulbs are heat lovers that come on strong as temperatures rise and most of them continue looking fabulous right through the fall.

Summer bulbs also grow well in containers, and this makes it easy to introduce a splash of late summer color wherever it's needed most -- near your entryway, around your porch or patio, or right in a flower bed.


Solo Performers and Outstanding Combinations

Summer bulbs have style and color to spare, so they can easily hold their own in a pot or planter. Growing these bulbs in their own containers also has some advantages:

  • it's easier to appreciate each plant's unique form
  • there's no competition for light, water or nutrients
  • you can move pots around to create new combinations on the fly

Another approach is to combine two different types of summer bulbs or to mix summer bulbs with annuals and perennials. Just keep in mind that canna lilies, elephant ears and full size dahlias can quickly overpower their neighbors. Here are some of our favorite ways to use summer bulbs in containers.


Pairing Two Types of Summer Bulbs

     Cannas with sun tolerant caladiums
     Elephant ears with sun tolerant caladiums
     Cannas with dahlias
     Eucomis with sun tolerant caladiums
     Lilies with sun tolerant caladiums

Pairing Bulbs and Annuals

     Dahlias with fountain grass and calibrachoa
     Elephant ears with verbena and sweet potato vine
     Dahlias with coleus and petunias
     Lilies with coleus and salvia
     Cannas with lantana and creeping jenny
     Acidanthera with Persian shield and dusty miller
     Elephant ears with croton and creeping jenny

TIP: Summer bulbs are at their best in late summer and early fall. For early season color, fill the pots with cool weather annuals such as calendula, nemesia, stock, pansies, snapdragons and sweet alyssum. As the summer bulbs grow, they will gradually fill out and take center stage.



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