Summer bulbs can offer some of the most stunning summer flowers. Summer Bulbs will give you years of perennial bloom and more bang for your investment bucks!
1. CrocosmiaCrocosmia is an exotic, beautiful plant that's a cinch to grow. Its summertime flowers appear in a cluster like freesias in dazzling shades of red, orange, and yellow. The swordlike foliage is handsome, too. Plus, it's a great cut flower.
How to Grow It: Crocosmia grows best in full sun and moist but well-drained soil. Zones 6-9.
Dahlias are one of the most versatile bulbs for the summer garden. Dwarf types of this summer flower reach only a few inches tall; the monster "dinnerplate" varieties grow more than 6 feet (and feature flowers bigger than your head). Dahlia blooms come in nearly every color of the rainbow and a range of flower forms -- from daisy-like singles to more alienesque quilled types.
How to Grow Them: Dahlias appreciate a spot with full sun and moist but well-drained soil. Stake taller varieties to protect them from the wind. Dahlias are hardy in Zones 8-10; in colder climates, dig the tubers and store them a frost-free place for winter. Or treat them as an annual.
Gladiolus has rightfully earned its reputation as a top cut summer flower. The blooms (up to 40 of them) burst out of an upright spike and hold up as well in the vase as they do the garden. They run the gamut as far as flower color goes -- from bright, bold colors to soft pastels. And they come in different sizes; miniature gladioli stay under 3 feet tall, but larger varieties may exceed 6 feet.
How to Grow It: Gladiolus does best in a spot with full sun and moist but well-drained soil. Stake it to keep it standing straight and tall. Zones 8-10; in cooler climates, dig and store them a frost-free place over winter. (Or replant every year.)
4. Oriental Lily
The lily tribe is a big one, but there's no overlooking the Oriental varieties of these summer flowers. The most dramatic lilies, they bear large, star-shape flowers in shades of white, yellow, crimson, and pink. These blooms are ideal for cutting. And many are perfumed with a spicy scent detectable from yards away. Dwarf varieties stay about 1 foot tall; traditional types can grow more than 6 feet.
How to Grow Them: Oriental lilies grow best in a spot with full sun and moist but well-drained soil. Stake them to keep them standing straight and tall. They're hardy in Zones 5-9.
5. Asiatic Lily
The easiest lilies to grow, the Asiatic varieties bloom in early to midsummer in a very wide range of colors on tough, hardy plants. Their star-shape summer flowers are great in the garden and last a long time in the vase (so grow a few extra to cut and bring indoors). Most types grow 2-3 feet tall.
How to Grow Them: Asiatic lilies grow best in a spot with full sun and moist but well-drained soil. They're hardy in Zones 3-8.
Gloriosa lily is a perfect plant for growing in a container on a deck or patio. One of the few climbing bulbs, it produces exotic summer flowers in shades of red and yellow. The flowers are reminiscent of fireballs -- definitely garden showstoppers! They climb to about 6 feet tall and bloom in summer.
How to Grow It: Gloriosa lily grows best in full sun and moist but well-drained soil. Zone 10; in cooler areas, dig and store them in a frost-free place for winter.