Flowering Bulbs For Summer

Ideas and suggestions for summer-flowering bulbs to add to your garden, including bloom times and tips on planting and growing them.

Summer-flowering bulbs provide additional color and interest when other spring-flowering plants may be dying down. While there may not be quite as many summer bulbs as there are for spring, some of the more common ones are represented. Most all summer-flowering bulbs bloom from June throughout fall and are considered to be tender, with exception to some of the iris or lily species.

The Allium family offers a variety of species to choose from. This family is associated with onions and is typically presented as ornamental additions in the garden. They may be tall or short with colors ranging from bright gold to blue, purple, or pink. The large, rounded seed heads make lovely, attractive points of interest during the winter months as these normally stay intact. The taller varieties are excellent choices for mixed borders, especially when grouped together. Front borders or rock gardens are good locations for the smaller types. These should be planted in clumps 2-3 inches apart and approximately 3-4 inches deep.

Dahlias come in a variety of forms and colors and usually bloom in late summer through fall. They are most effective when planted in masses and are also excellent for cutting. Locate dahlias in groups of formal borders or use to fill in gaps. These make good container plants as well. For steady blooming periods, deadhead faded blooms.

Most iris species are planted in the fall and come in a variety of types ranging in sizes and color. They make outstanding additions to nearly any garden, formal or natural settings, and are especially lovely planted in drifts. Dutch irises bloom in early summer, adding lots of color to the area. These plants are also wonderful for cutting.

Another popular summer-flowering bulb is the gladiolus. These spiked blooms appear only a couple of months after planting. As with other species, these also come in a range of colors. They can generally be found in cutting gardens or in drifts with other plants.

There are numerous types of lilies. Most of these do not require lifting during the fall as they are generally quite hardy, unlike other summer bulbs. They include daylilies, Easter lilies, etc. Lily varieties not only provide plentiful color but astounding fragrances as well. They look good when grouped together in borders and some types make lovely container plants too.

A lily by name, though not in the Lillium family, canna lilies have bold and dramatic flowers as well as foliage. They bloom from mid-summer into fall with colors ranging from white, pink, red, and yellow to bi-colors. Canna lilies make great accents to the garden when placed in groups of a single color.

Begonias vary in size and shape and offer gardeners many summer uses. Their flower colors also vary from white to pink or red and appear in clusters. There are some species that are grown simply for their unusual foliage color. They make ideal choices for beds, containers, and even hanging baskets.

Including summer-flowering bulbs in your garden will not only extend its bloom time, but they will also add interest and variety. There are many different types to choose from and all are quite easy to grow. While most of these require lifting to protect them from the harsh temperatures during winter, they do not need extensive maintenance once they are established, other than deadheading and watering.

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