Stunning Summer Bulbs


Summer bulbs are easily overlooked. Check your garden centers now for great ideas.

Spring is the time to plant them when danger of frost is over. And the bonus?  Many are perennials taking over the show left behind by spring year after year and hiding old foliage.


Lilium Patricia’s Pride/Patricia deVroomen

Think cannas with blooms and colors as showy as you could wish. Try Canna Red Dazzler, a good disease free variety. Another reliable perennial with lots of color combinations is the Dahlia. Dahlia Fringed Star Favorite is a fabulous pink and cream bicolor. Belladonna Amaryllis and Crinum make large showy impressive plants, too. Day lilies (Haemerocallis spp.) especially Haemerocallis Stella D’Oro, still the best rebloomer, are always favorites for sunny spots.

Glowing vivid red or orange Crocosmia spp. can create bold statements in a corner or in the middle or back of a border. Don’t forget those gorgeous Gladioli, so beautiful as cut flowers, too.

Ever tried lilies en masse? My very own Lilium Patricia’s Pride (an Asiatic lily) is a regal creamy white with purple brush strokes named for me by my husband Jack. Fragrant tall Oriental Lilies with columns of beautiful blooms are showstoppers if you have space. Lilium Trumpet Regal is striking and perfect for that white garden you thought about creating. A later variety, the bright double orange tiger lily, Lilium Flore Pleno, is really eye-catching.

Shady spots?  Use hosta, astilbe or try caladiums, they make wonderful ground cover for 4 or 5 months and, though not perennial, will repay you in reds, pinks and cool whites with little work beyond planting and watering. The new Florida varieties are more sun tolerant. Try Caladium Florida Fantasy, glowing white with vivid red veins. But for me, Caladium Red Flash is unbeatable in landscapes, thriving in full sun in the Carolinas.


Colocasia esculenta ‘Fontanesli’ / JC Raulston Arboretum

For a more tropical feel try elegant Elephant Ears (Colocasia spp. and Alocasia spp.). Colocasia esculenta Jack’s Giant can grow taller than you in just one season and glossy leaved Giant Upright (Alocasia portadora) is worth a mention.

Summer bulbs grow well in containers, too. Try callas, anemones, and fragrant freesia. Have fun pairing spring and summer bulbs for a continuous show. The English cottage garden idea of filling beds is perfect to cut down on work, deter weeds and help keep the soil moist and shady.  Happy Gardening!

Featured image – Crocosmia ‘Ember Glow’ / JC Raulston Arboretum

Patricia deVroomen of Marlboro Bulb Company is an enthusiastic English gardener creating many little gardens within her garden, including a white garden, in South Carolina.

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