Summer-Blooming Bulbs by Paul James

You’ve seen spring-flowering bulbs popping up all over the place – daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and so on. Those beauties must be planted in the fall, because each type requires a specific amount of chilling time during the winter months to induce flowering.  But there are a number of truly gorgeous bulbs that bloom in summer (through fall, in some cases) and can be planted now, both in the ground and in containers. Here’s a rundown of some of my favorites.

Bleeding Heart:  From the genus Dicentra, Bleeding Hearts produce a profusion of drooping, heart-shaped flowers that can make a shady spot come alive. They’re tough, easy to grow, and dependably hardy here, as in perennial.

Calla Lily: Not a true lily, but what the heck. The flowers come in a range of colors and are absolutely gorgeous, and the plant is easy to care for. Sadly, Calla Lilies aren’t dependably hardy here (mulch heavily in winter), but that’s hardly a reason not to grow them.

Cannas: Who doesn’t like Cannas? They can transform any sunny area into a taste of the tropics, and in addition to a kaleidoscope of colors available, there are different heights too. And yes, they’re hardy, although they should be mulched in winter.

Crocosmia: Hard to pronounce, but easy to grow, I’ve never understood why this baby isn’t planted more often. It loves the sun and heat, and responds to both with vivid red and yellow flowers on long – as in 30” – stems. The sword-like foliage is nice too.

Dahlias: The range of sizes and colors among Dahlias is truly staggering, which is to say there’s something for everyone. They’re not hardy, nor are they fans of our summer heat, but give them just the right spot (morning sun, afternoon shade) and you may be hooked forever.

Tricyrtis: Also known as Japanese Toad Lily, this is a drop-dead gorgeous plant that blooms even in deep shade, where it contrasts beautifully with ferns. I love this plant. You will too.

Virginia Bluebells: Planted in mass, Virginia Bluebells are spectacular. They’re also a snap to grow, and they naturalize well in our area.

Lily of the Valley: This old standby is still worthy of consideration in any garden. It slowly spreads to form a beautiful groundcover, one that’s tough as nails.

That’s my short list. There are more choices available in the Solution Center, along with friendly folks who can give you helpful advice on how to make this the best blooming garden you’ve ever had.

P.S. I’ve generically referred to these plants as summer-blooming bulbs, but technically some are culms and some are rhizomes.

P.P.S. We also have lots of caladiums and elephants ears in stock. It’s still a tad too early to plant them, but you might want to grab them while supplies last.