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Add Color to the Landscape with Summer Bulbs

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Planting summer-blooming bulbs is a great way to add not only beautiful color to the garden but also fabulous scent. Bulbs are a good choice for novice gardeners because they’re easy to grow. Now is the time to get bulbs in the ground since the soil is warming up. For best results, plant bulbs when the soil temperature is about 60 degrees Fahrenheit.


Summer bulbs grow best during the heat of the summer. Good choices include lilies, eucomis and tigridia, along with dahlias, caladiums, cannas and gladioli. Some options are Asiatic and Oriental lilies, as well as gladiolus and crocosmia. Tuberous begonia, agapanthus, and elephant ears also fall into the summer bulb group.


Some of these bulbs can tolerate being left in the ground over the winter, but others aren’t as hardy and will need to be dug up and stored each fall.


Bulbs produce flowers that are quite colorful, and summer bulbs can provide a landscape with vivid color through the sizzling days of July and August.


Before planting summer-blooming bulbs, make sure the site you choose provides ideal growing conditions. Some bulbs thrive in full sun, while others can showcase their colors in partial shade. Some bulbs, such as canna or elephant ear, thrive on moisture and can grow in shallow standing water.


Gardeners with mostly clay soil should avoid bulbs such as lilies, gladiolus and crocosmia as these selections need soil that holds moisture but drains well. Clay soil doesn’t drain well and it’s likely the bulbs will rot.


It can be a bit tricky to tell the top of the bulb from the bottom, so make sure the roots are on the bottom of the planting hole. Plant at a depth equal to two to three times the fattest part of the bulb. Be sure to read and follow the planting directions on the packaging. If the plants will need some staking later on, go ahead and do that now. This will prevent accidentally spearing the bulb.


To make your bulb garden more visually appealing, plant the bulbs in clusters instead of a straight line. Gardeners can mix or match colors to create different effects.


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