Bulbs that Flower All Summer
Flowers that bloom for long periods of time help make the time, effort and money put into gardening well worth it. There are many bulbous plants that bloom all summer long, and some even into the fall, with only a few listed below. To encourage more blooms and a longer bloom season, always pinch off spent--or dead--flowers. In addition, some bulbs will bloom more if fertilizers are applied. When applying fertilizer, always follow the dosing and application instructions as printed on the label.
There are 12 different flower groups in the dahlia family that have distinct-looking blooms that are available in almost every imaginable color except for blue. Fertilize dahlias in July with one application of 5-10-10 or 10-10-10 fertilizer.
Cannas--also known as canna lilies but not really in the lily family--will bloom from early summer to the first frost in an array of colors including yellow, orange, red, pink and cream. Many cultivators exist and most reach 3 to 6 feet, but some dwarf varieties grow to only 2 feet. To encourage more blooms, apply 10-10-10 fertilizer beginning in the spring. Repeat every four to six weeks until early fall.
Crocosmias will multiply and the plants and blooms will get bigger in years to come. The blooms last all summer. There are more than 400 cultivators and the yellow, orange and red varieties attract hummingbirds. Crocosmias will continue to bloom during the fall as the rest of the garden dies away. Crocosmias are not heavy feeders and therefore do not need fertilizers when planted in the garden.
There are hundreds of lily cultivators from which to choose and all typically grow to be between 2 to 8 feet. Blooms vary in color such as pink, orange, maroon, yellow and white. Once the lilies begin to emerge from the ground in the spring, fertilize monthly with 5-10-10 fertilizer. Tiger lilies, oriental lilies and trumpet lilies are just a few of the kinds of lilies that will bloom all summer long.
Choose from more than 900 species of tuberous begonias, most of which have double blooms that flower from summer until fall. They are among the few bulbs that prefer the shade, but still bloom vibrant colored flowers. Unlike a lot of summer bulbs, tuberous begonias are on the small size--growing only 12 to 24 inches in height. Tuberous begonias should be fertilized every two to four weeks with a balanced fertilizer, such as one labeled 10-10-10.