Summer is the pinnacle of the gardening year. When the vegetables are ripening and the perennials have filled in the space, you may be entertaining outdoors, attending garden tours, or spending a stay-cation at home. Spring bulbs are planted in the spring to bloom in the summer. Some of the most resplendent flowers and leaves are grown from bulbs, tubers, corms, and rhizomes. Buy them now from catalogs and plant them early to save big bucks this year on show stopping plants.
Spring bulbs have some of the most decorative blooms and leaves available for your garden, but many are too tender to survive a cold winter. It’s worth investing in some of these plants from catalogs in the spring because buying them in pots in the summer can be very expensive. With a little know-how in the spring, you can enjoy a gorgeous flower garden bursting with blooms this summer.
When the soil has warmed up to 60 F, it’s time to get the bulbs in the ground. A common rule of thumb is to plant them twice as deep as they are large. Follow the instructions on the package as each plant will grow differently, even within species.
Asiatic Lily and Oriental Lily
Oriental lilies are tall plants that bloom in beautiful starbursts of pink, white, and yellow. They have a heavenly fragrance, so place them near a patio or garden bench so that you can bask in their lovely scent as they grow. Asiatic lilies are one of the easiest lilies to grow. Similar in appearance to Oriental lilies, they have no fragrance and are early-blooming, hardy plants. They vary in color widely, from vibrant hues to delicate pastels.
Caladium, also known as ‘elephant ear’ because of its distinguishing shape, has gorgeous variegated leaves in green, red, pink, and white. There are many varieties, all of which are striking. Some have deep red centers with distinct green borders, while others look like a Jackson Pollock painting, with splatters of color stretching across the entire leaf.
Calla lilies are often regarded for their elegant, cone-shaped flowers which come in a multitude of colors, but this plant’s foliage deserves some recognition too! The large spade or heart-shaped leaves, sometimes adorned with white or pale yellow speckles, make a simple backyard garden feel more like an exotic tropical getaway.
Cannas were originally cultivated for their starchy roots which were eaten by Indigenous Peoples of the Americas for thousands of years. Nowadays, they are grown mostly for beauty. Cannas have big, bright flowers that come in an array of colors and their huge, variegated, paddle-shaped leaves make a stunning feature in the garden all summer long.
Native to the grasslands of southern and eastern Africa, these delicate blossoms come in various shades of red, orange, and yellow. They bloom in vertical flower chains with the new buds developing at the top, giving the whole thing a kind of pyramid shape which adds to their unique and exotic appeal. Plant Crocosmia corms in clusters and you can easily dig up and divide them like perennials when they expand beyond their allotted space.
Gorgeous Dahlia flowers come in a wide array of bold colors—both variegated and solid—and a variety of sizes. Blossoms range from two-inches in diameter to the huge “Dinner Plate” variety, which produces blooms that have a diameter of a foot. Forget miniature gardens; plant some Dinner Plate Dahlia tubers and make yourself a garden fit for a giant!
Gladioli grow tall stalks with starry, trumpet-shaped flowers growing in a vertical sequence on top of one another. They come in an array of colors from dark orange to sky blue. Gladioli are perfect for a showy back border.
The Gloriosa Lily is the only climbing plant on this list, and it can grow up to ten feet in height when supported by a structure. The petals point upward and face in on each other in a sphere shape, making the blooms look like miniature crowns. They come in shades of red, pink, orange, and yellow and will make quite the statement in the garden.
Also known as ‘purple shamrocks’ and ‘love plant,’ oxalis foliage is shaped like a large, four-leaf clover and has delicate white flowers. The leaves are usually either dark purple all over or else are bright green with a deep purple center. The surprising, bold color of the leaves makes oxalis a striking accent and adds a dramatic touch to any garden.