Enjoy beautiful blooming bulbs all summer long
Summer is all about flowers, but there is so much more to it than herbaceous perennials and flowering shrubs. There are a whole host of stunning summer flowering bulbs, corms, tubers and rhizomes, all more than capable of holding their own throughout the summer and bringing colour, height and scent to beds, borders and containers. Easy to grow they are immensely rewarding and most are ready to plant now.
Choose the right spot
When planting summer flowering bulbs, different bulbs need different situations, but most bulbs need a free draining soil in a warm, sunny spot.
If you have heavy soil dig in plenty of grit or horticultural sand before planting to help open up the soil structure and improve drainage. Exceptions to this are crocosmias, which prefer a rich soil with plenty of organic matter added to help retain moisture and as well as begonias and cardiocrinum – which both prefer a damp, but not wet, spot. Most lilies generally prefer acidic soil and cool roots.
Growing in pots
Growing in pots is particularly suitable for more tender bulbs like tigridia, as they can simply be moved indoors over the winter. When planting the summer flowering bulb agapathus it is worth noting that they thrive when slightly pot bound, so plant them into a pot a couple of sizes smaller than you would normally choose.
As with all bulbs, leave summer flowering bulbs to die down naturally, rather than cutting off leaves and lift and store tender bulbs by shaking off the soil off them and leaving them to dry overnight. Dust with a fungicide to help keep them healthy and prevent rotting and then store in paper bags until the spring.
How to plant
A guide on how to plant summer flowering bulbs is to either dig an individual hole for each bulb or to plant in groups or clusters in trenches.
A good rule of thumb when planting summer flowering bulbs is to always plant bulbs at three times their depth and two or three times their width apart.
Make sure the growing point is facing upwards, cover with soil and firm down.
Summer flowering bulbs such as gladioli are perfect in the border with their stunning wands of colour bringing height and elegance. Early flowering types are lovely planted with alliums while later varieties go well with the round heads of dahlias. They also make gorgeous cut flowers for the house.
Dahlias, with their many shapes and sizes, can be grown in both the border and containers and go well with just about anything, including other bulbs like crocosmias and herbaceous perennials such as heleniums and monardas, which all flower well into the autumn. Exotic looking cannas can be grown in combination with dahlias and herbaceous perennials but are best used as bold specimen plants dotted through borders to draw the eye.
Planting summer flowering bulbs is easy as many can also be grown in pots and containers as well as in the ground. Begonias are ideal pot plants, either en masse, on their own or part of a seasonal display with pelargoniums and fuchsias, while freesias, with their gorgeous scent deserve to be in pots close at hand on the patio or by the front door – where they be easily sniffed!
We love bulbs. From dramatic dahlias to glamorous gladioli, there are so many to enjoy. All they need is a small patch of moist, free-draining soil in the sunshine and they're happy – so creating that dazzling summer display really couldn't be easier.
Planting depths, heights and blooming times all vary, so here's a little guide to help you.
There really are no rules, so be creative in your choices!
And if you need a helping hand, just ask.
Paint your garden gorgeous
Prints and paintings brighten up your house. So why not be creative with the colours in your garden too? Design a floral masterpiece with your very own mixture of bold and beautiful bulbs.
Here are a few ideas that might inspire you:
Follow your instinct
Simply plant a mixture of anything you fancy! The result's bound to be a lovely surprise.
The rainbow effect
Use the colour spectrum as your inspiration, planting colours that naturally sit next to each other: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet…
Less is more
Choose one colour you love, then plant it in an assortment of different shades and tones. It's a soothingly satisfying way to give your garden depth and structure.
For a striking look, plant complementary colours side by side – yellows and purples, blues and oranges – to achieve the ultimate contrast.