Planting summer flowering bulbs

Planting summer flowering bulbs

Unlike the spring bulbs that are planted in the fall and give a pretty flowering in fine weather (tulip, narcissus, hyacinth, crocus ...), the summer flowering bulbs are planted in the spring, when there is a risk of frost discarded. Begonia, canna, dahlia, gladiolus, lily, agapanthus, freesia ... will light up your garden during beautiful and long summer days. They take over from the spring bulbs in the beds, borders, flower beds, rock gardens, planters ... and constitute magnificent bouquets inside. The range of summer bulbs is much wider than you think, with many varieties that are sometimes little known. The choice is wide, between the species with bulbs proper (lilies, amaryllis, gladioli, freesias, alliums ...) and those with tubers (dahlias, cannas, begonias, arums ...). The shapes of the flowers are often spectacular, the sizes varied. In short, true happiness for gardeners! In addition, if they are sensitive to extreme cold and generally need strong sunlight, summer bulbs require little effort and special knowledge. What more ?

Summer flowering bulbs: planting tips

Summer bulbs are planted in spring. Beware, however, of sudden frosts which can occur until mid-May. Also avoid planting in particularly soggy soil. Summer bulbs are pleasant in most soils, provided they are perfectly draining.

Where to plant summer bulbs?

Most summer bulbs need a sunny exposure, with the exception of buttercups and tuberous begonias which tolerate partial shade, even shade. Also pay attention to the wind for dahlias and gladioli which must be protected due to their large size. Certain bulbs (amaryllis, begonias, dwarf dahlias and especially dwarf cannas) are well suited for planting in pots. The containers must be adapted to the burial depth of the bulbs and provided with holes. The bulbs are planted in rich, well-drained soil using gravel placed at the bottom of the pot.

How to winterize summer bulbs?

It is preferable in most cases to dig them up and bring them into a dry and airy room (cellar, garage) after flowering (in the fall) to replant them the following spring. This technique applies to tuberous begonias, gladioli and other bulbous sensitive to cold, but some bulbs can be left in place. You can then simply cover them with a generous mulch to protect them.

Varieties of summer bulbs as easy as they are attractive

Canna, a vibrant bloom

The canna (or balisier) offers throughout the summer beautiful and large flowers with bright colors. Close to the banana tree, its fleshy rhizome gives a long stem with large green or purple oval leaves, surmounted by plume flowers in bright colors: yellow, orange or red, sometimes pink, purple, white ... Its flowering and foliage thus bring a beautiful a touch of exoticism in the garden, a decorative element of choice in the flower beds in the gardens. Fast growing, the cannas reach up to 1.50 m for tall varieties, and dwarf varieties reach 1 m in height. They are therefore perfectly suited to gardening or container cultivation. The cannas love the sun and the heat and flourish in a rich soil. After flowering (from July to October), the rhizomes must be protected from frost.

The gladiolus, essential

Particularly suitable for making sumptuous bouquets, the ultimate flower to cut, the gladiolus is a great classic in our gardens. There are more than 200 varieties of hybrids and the color palette of the flowers is extremely varied. From the purest white to the deepest mauve, almost black, through yellow, pink, red, orange ... and even the two-tone, there is really something for all beds. What make wonderful bouquets! The gladiolus is planted in spring (March / April) and until the beginning of summer (July) at 10 cm deep, respecting a spacing of about 20/25 cm between each bulb. The gladiolus flourishes fully in the sun in a fairly light soil and flowering can be staggered until autumn. Undemanding, it tolerates all types of soil. The gladiolus is an extremely easy flower to grow! The only imperative: you must keep the bulbs safe during the winter. In conclusion, we do not hesitate!


Indispensable host of summer planters and hanging lights, the begonia is appreciated for its spectacular and colorful flowering. Native to South America, the tuberous begonia has a bushy habit, from 20 to 30 cm, with single or double flowers that range from pure white to many warm tones. There is a cascade form, Begonia pendula which has flexible and drooping stems. Begonias are particularly suitable in pots, to place in partial shade in a soil rich in humus, fresh but well drained.

The agapanthus

The agapanthus is a perennial bulbous plant which offers from the beginning of summer beautiful and large blue or white flowers which bloom from June to September. It is sumptuous in the garden with its flower stalks which can reach 1 m in height. As for the green or variegated foliage, it brings material to the beds and borders. The agapanthus needs a mild climate to thrive in the ground (it is hardy down to -5 ° C only), but do not give up the pleasure of this beautiful perennial! You can also grow it in a pot or in a planter. In all cases, prefer protected and sunny locations. In winter mulching will be necessary.

The elegance of the lily

Popular with amateurs and professionals, the lily is a plant of great elegance, deliciously fragrant, widely used as a cut flower. Easy to maintain and able to adapt as well to growing in the open ground as in pots, lilies bloom from one year to the next without having to take care of them. Rustic, the bulb can stay in place all year round. No need to dig them up for the winter. A real joy ! The spectacle of the fleur-de-lis is always wonderful. There are almost as many colors as varieties of lilies. The floral stem carries flowers in trumpets or in fragrant stars. But to flower well, lilies need enough sunlight. A little advice to gardeners: as soon as the young shoots have emerged from the ground, it is important to give them a good orientation. To do this, carefully plant a stake in the ground and carefully tie the shoots without strangling them.


Sumptuous by the beauty of its flowers and generous by the quality of its flowering, the dahlia is certainly one of the most beautiful bulb flowers. Ranging from 30 cm to almost 1.50 m in height, all shapes and almost all colors exist. There are thus several types of dahlias: dahlia cactus, decorative dahlia, dahlia ball and pompom, dwarf dahlia ... Single or double, the flowers form beautiful bouquets in vase. Easy to maintain, dahlia tubers (bulbs) are ideally planted between April and June, after any risk of frost. The exposure must be sunny, the soil rich and airy. If your soil is heavy, add a good quantity of potting soil to the planting. To advance flowering, place the bulbs in a box filled with moist potting soil from March, in a cool and bright room and when the feet have started well, install them in the garden. Unmatched in terms of flowering time, dahlia in warmer regions blooms until early fall. But as of winter, the dahlias, originating in Mexico, fear frosts (the dahlias resist temperatures of the order of -5 to -10 °). In mild climates, the tubers can remain in the ground, protected by plant mulch. Elsewhere, as soon as the foliage darkens and decomposes (around November), they must be pulled out and stored away from the cold in a dry place sheltered from light until the following spring. Dahlias are magnificent when planted in multicolored groups or installed in small assorted touches, mixed with perennials or annuals or in pots where they bloom all summer. Unmissable.

Ornamental garlic, colorful

The forgotten garden has everything to please! To adopt if you are looking for plants that are easy to live with, rustic and original, even spectacular, ornamental garlic is particularly decorative. These flowering spheres, more or less high perched on their stiff stems (20 to 100 cm depending on the species), do not go unnoticed in the garden especially if they are planted in groups (plant them by 7 to 9 bulbs at least). In a massif, a border, a rock garden, along a wall or on a carpet of grasses, these tiny flowers grouped in balls up to 10 cm in diameter cause a sensation. We play with colors (yellow, blue, white, green, pink, purple…). Installed in the sun or in partial shade (for rare species) and sheltered from the wind in a light and well-drained soil, the bulbs can withstand very low temperatures (up to - 20 ° C). No need to winter them. Easy to grow, ornamental garlic punctuates the clumps with its graphic, slender shapes and its aerial profile. We love !