Summer bulbs come in a wide variety, offering the gardener numerous sizes, shapes, colors and fragrances to pick from. Flowers grown from bulbs provide a new element to your landscaping. Plant summer bulbs in hanging planters, containers, rock gardens or flower beds, or use them as ground cover and borders around your yard.
Lilies (Lilium spp.) come in around 80 different species with hundreds of cultivars obtainable. Selecting lilies with varying bloom dates allows you to enjoy these summer flowers from June to September. Grow lilies rated hardy for your specific zone for best results. Plant your container-grown lilies at any time during the growing season, but plant ones grown in the ground in the fall or spring. Choose sunny locations with well-draining soil for your lilies. Bury smaller lily bulbs 2 to 4 inches deep, larger ones 4 to 5 inches and space them from 6 to 12 inches apart. Stake tall lilies and provide all lilies with protection from the wind. Fertilize the lilies with 5-10-10 when plants began to emerge and continue monthly during growing season.
Generally called “glads,” these summer flowers make excellent displays when cut. Available in a large amount of sizes, colors and blossom types, gladioli grow from corms, not true bulbs. Chosen often for the ease of growing and wide selections, these summer flowers prefer well-drained soil and plenty of sun, and should not be grown near any woody shrubs or trees. Space your planting over several weeks beginning one month prior to last frost date in your area. Bury small gladiolus bulbs 2 to 3 inches deep, medium ones 3 to 4 inches and large bulbs 4 to 6 inches deep when planting. Space individual glads 6 inches apart and rows 20 to 36 inches apart. Gladiolus require stakes to grow tall and straight while supporting the weight of the numerous blossoms that appear in the summer.
Dahlias produce flowers in every color with the exception of clear blue, and range in blossom dimension from under 1 inch diagonally to dinner-plate size. Plant your dahlias in locations with well-draining, rich soil that provide lots of sun. Grown from tuberous roots--not true bulbs--the dahlia can grow up to 7 feet tall and needs support when developing. Space the plants 9 to 12 inches apart in flowerbeds or 2 to 3 feet apart for taller varieties. Make a hole just a little bigger than the root ball and leave the crown of it a little higher than ground level. Provide a fertilizer like 5-20-20 about 30 days before planting the dahlias and monthly thereafter during the summer growing period.